Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa is anticipating a “big update” for Tuesday, March 2. And while we don’t know what this update could be yet, we definitely know that it’s about the moon, which has the potential to be some very exciting news.
Why is it exciting? Maezawa has a deal with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to be the company’s first civilian passenger to the Moon, whenever that happens, and wants to put other civilians into lunar orbit by 2023.
Maezawa tweeted late Thursday asking if anyone wants to fly to the moon with him, implying that he is going to apply for tickets or that he has already chosen some contenders.
The #dearmoon project was announced by Maezawa with the aim of bringing artists closer to the Moon, although as CNET notes, we haven’t heard much about the project since it was announced in September 2018.
“If Pablo Picasso could have seen the moon up close, what kind of paintings would he have drawn?” Maezawa asked on his website in 2018. “If John Lennon could have seen the curvature of the Earth, what kinds of songs would he have written? If they had gone into space, what would the world have looked like today? “
It is a genuinely interesting and serious question in a time of cynicism and anxiety. And it’s hard to guess if the artists will return from lunar orbit with better ideas than they will with an exotic space disease that will ultimately wipe out humanity.
But it’s worth wondering how our attitudes about space travel can change the course of history, as they clearly did in the 1950s and 1960s, though not always. ways we had expected. Baby boomers grew up and told them they’d visit donut-shaped space colonies and one day take yours vacation on the moon. Kraft Foods even gifted a life-size rocket simulator to some lucky kids in 1959.
These children of the 1950s and 1960s were promised that the world would be better, all thanks to advances made in space. The question was “when”, not “if” we would all be taking off for the Moon.
Those promises turned out to be lies. Rapid improvements in space technology were largely used to push the Cold War agenda against the soviet union. Why don’t we have a permanent colony on the Moon yet? Probably because you don’t need one to nuclear Moscow. The space shuttle program was very good at getting spy on satellites in orbiteven if most people don’t see them that way.
Perhaps it is time for a new era of sincere longing to travel through space. We may not get there if we are not billionaires or a select handful of artists. But a collective dream can change the world. It may not always change it for the better, but after the last year of living through a pandemic and neo-fascist uprising, it’s hard to see how it could wear out.