SpaceX marks the spot: the era of space tourism is about to ...

World

SpaceX marks the spot: the era of space tourism is about to blast off

Elon Musk’s latest lift-off is just a prelude to his real dream – life on Mars – as space-race contenders line up

Pippa de Bruyn

When Frank Sinatra crooned Fly Me to the Moon he surely couldn’t have imagined doing so for a reality TV dating contest. But Yusaku Maezawa set the wheels in motion for just that in 2020, using Twitter to recruit a female “life partner” to join him on the world’s first private circumlunar flight, scheduled for 2023.

His love quest – and the ensuing journey – would be filmed by a documentary crew. Within days, Maezawa had 27,722 applications from women eager to take a seat beside him on Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket, and “shout our love from outer space”. Two weeks later, the Japanese billionaire retracted the offer, citing “mixed feelings”.

The exercise showed that space travel as recreation is now on the cards. Or is it?..

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