On Thursday, December 8, crew members for the first-ever civilian mission to the Moon were announced, with a Corkonian securing one of the highly coveted seats. Rhiannon Adam, an openly queer photographic artist, is set to make history as the first Irish person in space when she embarks on the week-long dearMoon mission next year.
The 37-year-old is one of eight people selected to join the expedition, with others including Grammy-nominated music producer Steve Aoki, K-pop star TOP, Indian TV actor Dev D Joshi, YouTuber Tim Dodd, creative Yemi AD, photographer Karim Iliya and filmmaker Brendan Hall. There are also two reserves, US Olympian Kaitlyn Farrington and Japanese dancer Miyu.
The recruits join Crew Leader Yusaku Maezawa (MZ) on the SpaceX rocket, with the Japanese entrepreneur spearheading the dearMoon Project. In 2018, he bought all of the seats onboard the vehicle, and in March 2021, he announced his plans to choose eight talented individuals from across the world to join him on the voyage.
There was reportedly a strict screening process for the million applicants, including medical checks and multiple interviews. Maezawa revealed he “had deep conversations with each candidate, asking them about their childhood, why they are dreaming about going to space, what kind of challenges they would like to undertake,” and more.
“They will gain a lot from this experience, and I hope they will use that to contribute to the planet, to humanity,” he said.
Meet the dearMoon Crew【Rhiannon Adam】
“Every day I pinch myself; it seems like an impossible dream coming true. I aim to create work that does justice to this transformative experience.”#dearMoonCrew @blackbirdsfly https://t.co/rf9vB3hmGx
— dearMoon (@dearmoonproject) December 9, 2022
Rhiannon revealed that she applied for the position in the middle of the pandemic as she was “craving an adventure, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity”.
Although they now live and work between London and the US, Rhiannon will make history for the Emerald Isle as a result of their trip. “I was born in Ireland, which will make me the first Irish person in space, which of course, is an incredible honour.”
In an Instagram post, they also explained the significance for them as an openly queer person.
“This feels particularly meaningful – visibility truly matters. Around the world there are many countries where my existence is still illegal, and I feel immensely privileged to be able to take up space, literally, and metaphorically.
“Few queer people have ever made it to space. The iconic Sally Ride only ‘came out’ in her own obituary, when it was revealed that she was survived by her partner of 27 years. Since then, we can count on one hand the number of openly queer people who have ventured into space, and I never would have imagined in a month of Sundays that I would be amongst them,” she added.
While SpaceX is yet to carry out the necessary initial test flights of the aircraft, should they be successful, the dearMoon crew will take off in 2023 for a six-day roundtrip, making them the first group of private civilians to venture beyond low-Earth orbit.
© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.
During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.
GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.