In just a few years, vacationers looking for a really remote locale just might be able to get away from it all by relaxing in the Sea of Tranquility. You won't find it on Google Maps, yet you can easily see it from wherever you are. All you have to do is wait until dark and just look up.
Yep, the Sea of Tranquility is on the moon, a place visited only once before, back in 1969 when Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin romped on its grainy surface. And by 2013, it's quite possible at least one tourist will get a glimpse of the spot and other geographical attractions on the moon if SpaceX gets its way.
The rocket manufacturer announced on Monday it has already picked Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa to become the first ever civilian for the private moon shot. If it happens, he'll become the 25th human to orbit the natural satellite. There are no plans for him to land on the surface.
"Ever since I was a kid, I have loved the moon," said Maezawa, who didn't disclose how much he paid for the trip. "It's always there and continues to inspire humanity."
Maezawa, who struck it rich as a creator of online retail sites like Zozotown and Start Today, is slated to be onboard SpaceX's next-generation spacecraft, dubbed BFR (short for Big Falcon Rocket), which undergoes testing in 2019 and is also hoped to be instrumental in getting people to Mars. BFR, which will stand at 35 stories tall on completed, will not only be able to deliver payloads but dozens of other passengers as well. To that end, Maezawa hopes to take with him on the outer space journey up to eight artists from around the world.
The announcement of Maezawa' trip on a BFR marks a change in SpaceX plans made in February when the company announced it would launch two passengers on board a Crew Dragon capsule atop a Falcon Heavy booster. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that further research into creating a spacecraft resulted in design alterations, hence the change.
The company also hasn't indicated when a craft will actually land on the lunar surface. Because for all that darkness, not to mention a lack of water and oxygen, a space junket to the Sea of Tranquility does have a nice ring to it.