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Billionaire’s plan for space art depends on rocket not blowing up

Elon Musk wishes to send people around the Moon, but like his shares in Tesla, his dreams will crash and burn.

Over the years, SpaceX has achieved many great things for the future of space travel such as developing a reusable rocket booster and he’s done some stunts too, like launching a Tesla Roadster into space. Now, he’s planning on helping a Japanese billionaire send several artists around the Moon to inspire them to create pieces of art. But there the mission’s success is by no means guaranteed.

Yusaku Maezawa is a Japanese billionaire and art collector who founded Zozotown, an online clothing retail store which is where he garnered most of his wealth. He also established the Contemporary Art Foundation, which supports young artists. He believes that works of art provide a way to reflect on the issues that are relevant to people around the world. To that end, Maezawa wishes to send artists around the Moon to create art pieces that he believes can promote world peace.

The SpaceX Starship is a specialized rocket that can carry six to eight artist to the moon and back. If this new variant succeeds it will be the most powerful rocket SpaceX has ever created. It is rumoured that SpaceX intends to completely replace all of their existing space vehicles with the Starship systems so they can create or support other mission like the long trip to Mars.

Not all of SpaceX rockets have been successful. A rusty nut caused something a booster rocket to explode mid-flight in 2006. Then in 2016, a rocket exploded during the fueling process. This mission will be manned, meaning that an error during takeoff or the fueling process will endanger the lives of the crew.

Anything can happen in space. The Starship could go off course due to an asteroid collision. Damage to the rocket’s engine could strand the crew in orbit. There may be an emergency engine on the rocket but it could not have enough force to return to the Earth or the International Space Station and the rocket could suddenly explode. There are a lot of unknowns.

Creating a massive spacecraft like the Starship is risky and SpaceX has a history of making small mistakes that have lead many rockets to explode or become vaporized. If they might fail to get the billionaires’ artists around the Moon and back, it will be a huge tragedy and a set back that the company might never recover from.

Image credit:Flickr/Cale Mooth

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