From the moment that SpaceX’s Elon Musk announced the company’s intention to send two unnamed people in a long loop around the moon in 2018, people started speculating about who those mystery passengers might be.
Musk didn’t give out many clues about the individuals who contracted the company for the flight, aside from saying that they put down a hefty deposit and they know each other.
However, that won’t stop us from wildly speculating about who the maybe famous and definitely rich folks flying to the moon with SpaceX might be.
Yes, yes, it’s true that Richard Branson has his own commercial spaceflight program in Virgin Galactic and Virgin Orbit, but Virgin isn’t aiming for the moon right now.
Therefore, this SpaceX offering wouldn’t be in direct competition with his own favorite space plans as of right now.
Branson is eccentric and daring enough to want to fly to the moon, so it would follow that he could be the one contracting SpaceX to fly him in a long loop above the lunar surface.
Even though Musk specifically said that the people contracting SpaceX to fly them to the moon aren’t from Hollywood, we’re still leaving Titanic director James Cameron on this list.
Cameron has been a space fan for a long while, and in 2011, it was reported that he shelled out more than $100 million for a flight around the moon with Space Adventures, a private firm that pairs would-be space tourists with their rides to orbit. He has yet to take his trip, so who knows, maybe he’s one of the people who’s opted to ride with SpaceX.
Cameron is also an adventurer who supports scientific inquiry. In 2012 he dove deep into the Mariana Trench, breaking a world record for the deepest solo dive in the process.
South Park has even made fun of his somewhat odd penchant for exploration, so this doesn’t seem outside of the realm of possibility for “the bravest pioneer.”
In all likelihood, the people who already put down a deposit with SpaceX are probably folks we’ve never heard of.
In order to fly on a flight like this one, you basically just need a lot of expendable income — millions and millions of dollars of it — and a will to head out into the unknown. Plus, you probably need a lot of time on your hands for training and the like.
Don’t be surprised if Musk announces that a couple of CEOs for huge international corporations are the ones asking to head to the moon on this first flight.
Even though Musk said that a couple of private individuals were the ones contracting SpaceX for this flight, it’s still possible that NASA astronauts could be the first people to fly on SpaceX’s system.
Musk made it clear that if NASA wanted to take the flight profile for itself, then SpaceX would absolutely let them fly the first flight of the Dragon and Falcon Heavy bound for the moon.
SpaceX owes a lot to NASA, particularly because the space agency’s significant investments in the company have helped it stay afloat since its founding in 2002.
NASA already has an uncrewed mission to circumnavigate the moon on the books for 2018 or 2019, so it’s possible that the agency will want to cooperate with SpaceX on some kind of moon venture in the future.
Google co-founder and current president Sergey Brin might be one of the best guesses we have for the person heading to the moon with SpaceX.
Brin once put down some money with Space Adventures for a flight to the International Space Station, but he has yet to fly.
Brin is also involved with the Google Lunar X Prize, a competition designed to spark commercial development of the moon by awarding a $20 million prize to the first private company to fly to and land a spacecraft on the moon and perform a series of specific tasks.
Please just let one of them be a woman
The only people who have ever flown to the surface of the moon or its general vicinity have been men.
I’d say it’s about time a woman made it there, don’t you?