SpaceX's rocket launches have dazzled fans with their impressive displays, but it could be just the beginning.
The company is planning to launch regular people, artists, and potentially even actors into space. MaryLiz Bender, a co-founder of space-focused media studio Cosmic Perspective, tells Inverse that this could be a moment where new storytellers will come along for the ride.
“I am truly excited for that because as we open this up [to] non-astronauts, someone with another perspective and another way of telling a story … we don't even know what they're going to experience or how they're going to translate that experience,” Bender says.
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Amid a new era of space travel, a new generation of rocket photographers and videographers have been capturing launches and telling their own stories. Cosmic Perspective plans to release three films in early 2021, including a look at art in space titled Taking Our Humanity With Us. Photographers like John Kraus have stunned fans with their Falcon 9 photos. Away from the launchpad, 3D artists are creating concept renders of SpaceX’s upcoming Starship.
This could pale in comparison to what comes next. SpaceX is expected to send up movie star Tom Cruise in the Crew Dragon capsule later this year, with the goal of producing the first movie in space. The firm also plans to send six to eight artists on a trip around the moon in 2023, a trip led by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa dubbed "Dear Moon."
“These artists will be asked to create something when they return to Earth,” Maezawa said in September 2018. “These masterpieces will inspire the dreamer inside all of us. Needless to say, we’ve always been inspired by the Moon. Take, for example, Beethoven’s 'Moonlight Sonata,' Van Gogh’s 'Starry Night,' and The Beatles’ 'Mr. Moonlight.'”
The trip will use the Starship, an in-development rocket designed to send humans to Mars and beyond. While the Crew Dragon can send up four travelers at a time, the Starship could rapidly expand access to space with the ability to send 100 people up with ample cabin space.
Beyond SpaceX, others are helping to open up launches. Virgin Galactic plans to take regular tourists on a trip to suborbital space, witnessing the curvature of the Earth. Companies like Space Adventures and Axiom Space are also working to make sure others can join these trips.
All this could lead to a spreading of a concept outlined in 1987 — the "overview effect."
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