Guy Laliberte, soon to be the world’s seventh space tourist, will blast off into the great unknown on a poetic social mission about water. The Canadian billionaire and founder of Cirque du Soleil will visit the International Space Station in September to fulfill his boyhood dream and perform a poem on Earth’s water scarcity, AFP reported.
The 49-year-old Laliberte will rocket into orbit on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, set to launch for the ISS on September 30, with a Russian cosmonaut and a US astronaut aboard.
Laliberte is currently training at the Russian cosmonaut center near Moscow for his private space mission, which cost previous space tourists between $20 million and $35 million.
But his 12-day stay aboard the station will be more than realizing his soaring childhood ambitions. At a news conference in Moscow on Thursday, Laliberte said he would be looking to “surprise” and “entertain” the ISS crew and the world as he puts out a show on board of the station to raise awareness about water scarcity on Earth.
Far from the fanfare his Cirque du Soleil is known for, in space Laliberte will perform a poem, composed in collaboration with Canadian poet Claude Peloquin on the theme of “a drop, a planet, a message.”
“My mission is dedicated to making a difference on this vital resource by using what I know best: artistry… This will be the first poetic social mission in space,” said Laliberte, who will have almost two weeks in space to reflect on Earth’s water as he orbits on the ISS, 350 kilometers away from the planet’s surface. The abundance of water is a unique feature of the Earth, hence its nickname “the blue planet.” Seen from the space station, it resembles a simple circle of blue.
Inset image of the Russian Soyuz capsule docketed with the International Space Station, courtesy of NASA/JPL.
, a Bulgaria native, is a Chicago-based reporter for Circle of Blue. She co-writes The Stream, a daily digest of international water news trends.
Interests: Europe, China, Environmental Policy, International Security.