There are two ways to answer the question of lunar tourism. One is lunar flybys where space tourists fly by the moon but do not land on it, the second is actually landing on the moon. The answer to the first one is a very likely yes, and to the second most likely but later.

We are fast entering the space tourism age with many private companies entering the fray - even Star Trek's "Captain Kirk" has now been for a space joy ride. Leading the charge at the moment are Virgin Galatic, Origin Blue, and perhaps none more ambitiously than Elon Musk's SpaceX.

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SpaceX Leading The Race Into Beyond Earth's Orbit Space Tourism

Those reading this article may have John. F. Kennedy's famous moon speak ringing in their ears crackling over the airwaves:

"We choose to go to the Moon. We choose to go to the Moon...We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard..."

President John. F. Kennedy

SpaceX's Starship is currently undergoing testing in Texas with plenty more tests planned for this year and for the final tests to be completed next year. Then it will be deemed operational and be conducting its first crewed missions next year if all goes to plan.

  • Status: Still In Development
  • Reusable: The Starship Will Be Fully Reusable

At first, the Starship will be used to deploy satellites, and then it will be used for space tourists. It will then be optimized for lunar landings and even Mars missions. It is planned to be a space tourism vehicle, a supply vehicle, a heavy satellite launch vehicle, and even NASA has selected it for their Artemis-3 mission to return a crewed mission to the moon.

Related: What To Expect When Visiting The U.S. Space & Rocket Center In Alabama

Will Tourists Be Able to Land On The Moon

Currently, there seems to not be any plans to actually land any tourists on the moon. But that will only be a matter of time. There are many orbiters, landers, and rovers in development. Some of these are being produced by start-up companies.

  • Tourist Moon Landings: None Seem To Be On The Cards For  Now

SpaceX for its part is focusing on sending tourists around the moon, assisting in landing NASA astronauts on the moon, and then their focus is to go to the red planet (Mars).

So it may be a while until tourists will actually be able to land on the moon, but if these projects (#dearMoon and Artemis 3) prove successful. It is likely to only be a matter of time. Once their Space ship is fully operational and has brought down the cost of space travel, it is bound to happen.

Two of the things prohibiting crewed space exploration are cost and danger. The Spaceship is fully reusable and should prove much, much cheaper to operate once it is fully functional. The other thing will be for it to prove just how safe it is. If it is, then the days of splashdowns may be coming to an end with the vehicles being reused again and again.

Another issue is that with NASA all the crew is highly trained astronauts. But billionaire space tourists are not. That means that instead of having highly trained, expert astronauts who can ferry themselves and be able to operate the craft they have tourists. So one needs to build a much more capable craft that doesn't require the experts (like in landing, exploring, launching, and docking).

  • Tourists: Tourists Are Basically Useless Deadweight From The Point Of View of Flying And Operating the Craft

Alternatively, it means building a larger (more complicated and expensive) craft that can fit more passengers in so there is room for the crew and the passengers. The actual landing craft that NASA landed on the moon was tiny and only had the capacity for two people. But the Spaceship SpaceX is developing has the capacity for 6 or 8 people.

Related: 25 Things We Believe About Space Tourism (That Are Totally False)

Flybys - The #dearMoon Project

Flybys are now in the advanced stages of planning and SpaceX is planning their #dearMoon fly by just next year if everything runs according to schedule. This mission is set to be in SpaceX's revolutionary new Starship - a massive and completely reusable multi-purpose space vehicle.

  • Financier: Japanese Billionaire Yusaku Maezawa
  • Duration: 6 Days
  • Date: Proposed Launch in 2023

As always, it is Elon Musk's SpaceX that is planning to boldly go where no one (tourist) has gone before. SpaceX's dearMoon project takes things to a whole new level - quite literally. This is planned to be a six-day moon flyby mission.

"This is the schedule and flight plan for the dearMoon project,

the first civilian lunar orbital mission aboard SpaceX’s rocket, Starship, planned for liftoff in 2023."

- dearmoon.earth

Next: 15 Incredible Space Tourism Options Coming Soon (5 Destinations Already Available Today)