The Irish woman will be the first civilian crew to orbit the moon

An Irish photographer has achieved an “impossible dream” by beating more than a million rivals to secure a seat on the first civilian flight to the moon.

Rhiannon Adam, 37, born in Cork and living in London, joins seven other artists and creatives chosen by the Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa.

Mr. Maezawa and crew will embark on the seven-day journey that will see them orbit the moon before returning to Earth.

The trip, dubbed DearMoon, is expected to take place next year aboard Elon Musk’s Starship, a rocket developed by SpaceX.

Ms Adam said: ‘Every day I pinch myself.

“It feels like an impossible dream come true.

“I aim to create work that does justice to this transformative experience.

“In the midst of the pandemic, of course, we were all grounded, which was incredibly frustrating for me because I felt like I had lost my purpose.

“But then, while idly scrolling through Twitter, I came across DearMoon and it felt like the most epic and life changing adventure for me.

“When I found out I was shortlisted, I cried and I’m not usually much of a auctioneer.

“I think it was overwhelming and it felt so impossible, and even then it didn’t feel real. It made me think maybe I should have played the lottery more.”

Ms Adam, who will be the first openly queer woman to go to space, added: ‘I spend a large part of my life working with many remote communities and it just seemed like a natural thing to do, apply to go to space and explore the community more remote than ever, that would be us in space.”

Also on the team is British photographer Karim Iliya, who grew up in the Middle East and Asia, and whose work has been featured in National Geographic and BBC Earth.

Ms. Adam and Mr. Iliya will be joined by Grammy nominated music producer Steve Aoki, South Korean rapper TOP, Indian television actor Dev Joshi and US natural life documentarian Brendan Hall.

Making up the troupe will be Czech choreographer and dancer Yemi AD, YouTuber Tim Dodd, who also booked their seats after interviews and medical checks.

Mr. Maezawa, an entrepreneur and art collector, wanted to “open up the opportunity to go into space to ever more diverse talents.”

It launched a crew member appeal on the DearMoon website in March 2021 that received more than a million applications.

After narrowing down the selection, Mr. Maezawa, also known as MZ, said, “I’ve had deep conversations with each candidate, asking them about their childhood, why they dream of going to space, what kind of challenges they would like to take on.

“There is no set task for each of them, but I hope that each recognizes the responsibility that comes with leaving the Earth, traveling to the moon and returning in seven days.

“They will gain a lot from this experience and I hope they will use it to contribute to the planet, to humanity.”

Should any of the crew drop out before the launch, there are two reinforcements ready to take their places: Kaitlyn Farrington, who won gold in the snowboarding halfpipe at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games for the United States; and Japanese dancer and choreographer Miyu.

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