Space X to zoom two citizen astronauts to the moon

Space X moon mission would be autonomous

Reuters/SpaceX Dragon capsule as it is released from the International Space Station

Space X today said two unnamed private citizens have paid the company a “significant deposit” to fly them to the moon and back to Earth.

“We expect to conduct health and fitness tests, as well as begin initial training later this year. Other flight teams have also expressed strong interest and we expect more to follow. Additional information will be released about the flight teams, contingent upon their approval and confirmation of the health and fitness test results,” Space X stated.

Space X said the mission will take place after the space company launches its unmanned Dragon (Version 2) spacecraft to the International Space Station later this year.

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“This first demonstration mission will be in automatic mode, without people on board. A subsequent mission with crew is expected to fly in the second quarter of 2018. SpaceX is currently contracted to perform an average of four Dragon 2 missions to the ISS per year, three carrying cargo and one carrying crew,” Space X stated.

Once operational Crew Dragon missions are underway for NASA, SpaceX will launch the private mission to circumnavigate the moon and return to Earth, according to Space X.

Space X said that Dragon was designed from the start to carry humans and that the mission would let humans to return to deep space for the first time in 45 years and begin an important milestone as “we work towards our ultimate goal of transporting humans to Mars.”

Space X founder and CEO Elon Musk last year detailed the company’s biggest aspiration ever – colonizing Mars.

“I think the first trips to Mars are going to be really, very dangerous. The risk of fatality will be high. There is just no way around it," he said. "It would basically be, 'Are you prepared to die?' Then if that's ok, then you are a candidate for going."

However, “the goal is to make going to Mars seem possible, something we can do in our lifetimes,” Musk said.

The details of the SpaceX Interplanetary Transport System mission are daunting -- it requires a massive booster system and spacecraft (think a ship north of 416ft tall and 55ft in diameter – NASA’s Apollo mission rocket, Saturn 5 was 363 ft. tall) that would be capable of carrying about 100 people and their luggage to the Red planet. Musk ultimately wants to send 200 people per flight to eventually lower the cost which could start at $200,000 per person.

In the end Musk want to send at least a million humans to Mars and establish a self-sustaining, fully functional city with pizza joints and everything, he said.Such a plan requires thousands of trips with a “Battlestar Galactica-like” armada of spacecraft to achieve, he said.

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