This article appeared in the September 18, 2018 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Fly me to the moon

Chris Carlson/AP
SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk, (l.), shakes hands with Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, (r.), after announcing him as the first private passenger on a trip around the moon on Sept. 17, 2018, in Hawthorne, Calif.
David Clark Scott
Audience Engagement Editor

Elon Musk announced Monday SpaceX has its first paying customer for a private, weeklong flight around the moon. Yusaku Maezawa, a young Japanese clothing tycoon, put down a “significant” deposit for a flight scheduled for five years from now.

It’s been 50 years since Apollo 8 made the same journey. Perhaps more interesting than the story of funding Musk’s vision of a “multi-planet civilization” or even the emergence of space tourism, is Mr. Maezawa’s spirit of generosity. He’s not going alone. He’s also paying for about a half-dozen musicians, painters, filmmakers, and other artists to go with him on a cosmic art project dubbed “Dear Moon.”

Solo travel can be revealing. But in my experience, travel is far more satisfying when you have someone else with you. Maezawa agrees: “I want to share these experiences and things with as many people as possible.”

Of course, this trip may have more in common with a Six Flags roller coaster than a Caribbean cruise. At the press conference, Musk paused to underline that “this is definitely dangerous.”

Aware of the risks, Maezawa’s starting to gently recruit passengers for this moonshot: “If you should hear from me, please say yes and accept my invitation. Please don’t say no.”

Perhaps you and I should brush up on our watercolors.

Now to our five selected stories, including the pursuit of justice by American sex-abuse victims and by Latin American activists, as well as what horses can teach humans about empathy. 

This article appeared in the September 18, 2018 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 09/18 edition
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