SpaceX to send two tourists to the moon in 2018

Fancy a trip to outer space? 

US aerospace company SpaceX has announced it will send two paying customers on a tourist trip around the moon late next year.

If it proceeds as planned, it will be the first-ever private tourist flight beyond the International Space Station.

In a statement on the SpaceX website, the company said the two private citizens had already paid a "significant deposit" to do the mission and would begin conducting health and fitness tests, as well as initial training, later this year.

"Like the Apollo astronauts before them, these individuals will travel into space carrying the hopes and dreams of all humankind, driven by the universal human spirit of exploration." 

The names of the two travelers and details of how much they've paid have not been released - although it's thought to be well over $20 million. 

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the circumlunar journey would take about a week, skimming the moon’s surface (without actually landing on it) before its return to Earth.

The company also said it doesn't expect this to be a one-time mission and that "other flight teams have also expressed strong interest" in making the trip. 

The ambitious plan is part of SpaceX's ultimate goal of "transporting humans to Mars."

Is this the beginning of a space tourism revolution? 

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