Two photographers chosen to fly around the moon on Elon Musk's SpaceX starship rocket!

dearMoon crew revealed
(Image credit: dearMoon)

Ever wanted to fly around the moon on a private starship spacecraft? Well, two lucky and extraordinary photographers have joined Yusaku Maezawa's crew in a lunar tourism mission that will fly a single circumlunar trajectory around the Moon!

The dearMoon project has been in development since 2018, expected to finally launch as early as next year, and will see Maezawa accompanied by eight other crew members being launched into space on a six-day artist mission. 

These are the best deep-space telescopes! (opens in new tab)

The dearMoon flight project (opens in new tab) has been in development for quite some time, funded and created by the Japanese billionaire, Yusaku Maezawa. The trip will involve a crew comprised of talented artists and creatives from different fields joining Maezawa in a free six-day lunar tourism mission around the moon, in an attempt to hopefully inspire the young artists to create and develop something new.

This week, we had an update from the project as the artist crew that will accompany billionaire Maezawa on a Starship flight to the moon has now been selected and revealed. Two photographers, Karim Iliya and Rhiannon Adam, will join the six other creative crew members and fly around the moon in what is supposedly the first-ever civilian/artist-centered mission into space.

Other crew members selected by Maezawa included famous DJ, producer, and music artist – Steve Aoki, as well as South Korean rapper and leader of the boy band 'Big Bang' -T.O.P, plus YouTuber Tim Dodd (creator of the Everyday Astronaut (opens in new tab) channel), filmmaker - Brendan Hall, Artist and dance choreographer - Yemi A.D, and Indian television actor - Dev Joshi.

The crew were hand-picked from over one million applicants, and two additional backup crew members were also selected including snowboarder Kaitlyn Farrington, as well as professional dancer, Miyu. The announcement video above gives a brief introduction to each of the crew members, and discusses how it feels to have been chosen by Maezawa himself and venture on the mission of a lifetime. 

The Starship rocket that will transport the crew has been developed by SpaceX (Elon Musk's technology corporation) and is expected to fly the crew around the moon and back, according to the mission flight plan.

Starship flight plan for dearMoon (Image credit: dearMoon)
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 Although, it may in fact be a while before this mission can take off - as Space.com reports that (opens in new tab) the Starship rocket has not yet been approved for even a small journey orbiting our Earth, let alone a flight to the moon. 

SpaceX is supposedly also still awaiting approval for the dearMoon mission flight from the Federal Aviation Administration regarding an environmental assessment that must be conducted before launch at its Starbase launch location in South Texas.

Karim Iliya (opens in new tab) describes himself as a photographer, filmmaker, and whale swimming guide based in Iceland and Hawaii. "I aim to use photography and video to show a unique perspective and uncover new worlds underwater that few have the opportunity to see, and to tell stories about people, places, and animals in order to better our world", he says. 

"My passion is in documenting whales, volcanoes, big cats, and threatened animals in an effort to protect our delicate ecosystems on earth".

Irish-born Rhiannon Adam (opens in new tab) is a portrait specialist based currently based between London and the United States. She says her work  "is heavily influenced by her nomadic childhood spent at sea, sailing around the world with her parents".

Despite the potential delay, Maezawa says he hopes that the crew members will gain a lot from the experience and use it to contribute to the planet, and to humanity. 

• You may also be interested in NASA's asteroid-smashing mission (opens in new tab), as well as the first EVER image of a planet outside the solar system (opens in new tab), and the dreamy Exoplanet Atmosphere (opens in new tab)captured by the Webb Telescope.

• Take a look at our guides to the best telescopes for astrophotography (opens in new tab), and the best star tracker camera mounts for astrophotography (opens in new tab), plus don't forget the best lenses for astrophotography (opens in new tab).

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Beth Nicholls
Staff Writer

A staff writer for Digital Camera World, Beth has an extensive background in various elements of technology with five years of experience working as a tester and sales assistant for CeX. After completing a degree in Music Journalism, followed by obtaining a Master's degree in Photography awarded by the University of Brighton, she spends her time outside of DCW as a freelance photographer specialising in live music events and band press shots under the alias 'bethshootsbands'.