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Space transport services company SpaceX has agreed to fly two people around the moon.
Two unnamed explorers approached SpaceX to express their interest in flying to the moon. The aerospace company agreed to the request and will provide the spacecraft Dragon 2 capsule, which will be attached to SpaceX’s upcoming spacecraft, the Falcon Heavy. According to SpaceX founder Elon Musk, the journey will mainly involve circumnavigating the moon. The explorers themselves will finance the mission.
Preparations for this lunar mission, which is set for 2018, include fitness tests and survival training, which usually entails immersion in areas with extreme conditions such as deserts or cold forests. These measures are expected to equip the explorers with the necessary skills to survive in harsh environments that they may possibly encounter during the mission.
In addition, a test flight will be conducted on the Falcon Heavy this summer, while the Dragon 2 capsule will be used in a demo mission during the latter part of the year.
Musk added that the two explorers will enter the mission with full awareness of the risks. One is exposure to cancer-causing cosmic radiation. In addition, a gravity-less environment can have negative effects on the body. For instance, more blood rises up to the chest and the brain, which increases blood pressure. There is also a possibility of unsafe landing, such as the case of the Columbia mission in 2003, where all seven astronauts were killed due to a damage on the shuttle’s left wing.