|The moon - own design based on a Nasa photo|
I've done so much exploring on this planet - everything from the seas and oceans, to the high mountains and remote Arctic areas. Now, there is potential to do some exploration outside of our planet! I have applied to join a space trip around the moon.
I've been dreaming about space travel since I was a kid. Growing up in Soviet Union, I wanted to become a cosmonaut - the Russian word for astronaut. I read a lot about space, the Moon and the stars - in the science magazines and children's books alike. Already as a kid in the kindergarden, I would keep metal parts and trinkets that I found, hoping to find a use for them in my space rocket.
|Personality shows all the way through, already as kid. Here, in Siberia, 1980-s|
I was an adventurous child, actively seeking to fulfil my dreams, and reaching all the way to space felt absolutely possible! As I grew older, those dreams gave way to something more down-to-Earth, pun intended. Imagine how happy I was to find out that there will be a civil mission to the Moon, and that the application was open! The dearMoon project is executed by Mr. Yusaku Maezawa, who was originally planning to bring 8 artists with him on this circumlunar flight, but then decided to open the opportunity to everyone, since the definition of "artist" is ambiguous. The total amount of people going will be 10-12, and the rocket used for the project is the "Starship", currently developed by SpaceX.
The pre-registration ended in March 2021, and a week later we sent in more information for the initial screening. In total, about a million people applied - from all parts of the world! Every country is represented. The idea is that the 8 that come along will help other people and make the society better in some way, do something bigger. There are two key criteria: you want to make the world a better place, and you're willing to support others in their attempts to make the world better. So imagine the potential, for a million applicants to make our society, our Earth, the world so much better by doing what their passion is. It's fantastic!
|Visiting the Inaccessability Pole, shortly after applying to go to the Moon.|
Today, the 12th of April is the Day of Cosmonautics, sort of "The Space Day" in Russia - thís day, 60 years ago, was the day Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space. I celebrate it by working hard, dreaming hard and training hard. There are about three weeks left before the next stage of the crew assignment is completed. After this, there will be online interviews, and the final interview and medical check-up. Already this summer, the crew constellation will be known. The training will then begin, and continue until the lift-off. The trip is to take place in 2023, the schedule and the flight plan are available here.
For me, it feels very natural to apply for this trip - I have been training for it for my whole life. To start with, I'm experienced used to dangerous and unusual adventures under all kinds of stress and pressure - I have now worked as a professional adventurer for years. Sailing around the world in a small sailing boat is a bit like being in space - you are all alone, not wanting to lose the tether, while everything around you is trying to kill you, despite being astoundingly beautiful. I had to learn to be my own mechanic, plumber, electrician, cook and medic. I was often in close quarters with crew, and had to be able to collaborate - even in stressful conditions, which teaches you to be respectful and patient.
Apart from being an adventurer, I am a firefighter. The rigorous training and health tests required show that I should have an adequate physical condition and a good mental strength needed for space travel. Also, I have been working with IT since 15 years ago, and I can imagine that these technical skills may be useful onboard a highly technological vessel. My training and certifications within management and group dynamics ensure that I can function within a team, and execute properly whenever it is needed.
|Lena Wilderäng, in firefighter uniform|
During my life, I've shown that I'm able and willing to make the world a better place. I've done amounts of hands-on volunteering work, both in hospices for homeless, asylum seeker camps, and a trafficking shelter. I've made artistic creation available to refugee kids, done assignments for the Red Cross during training of medical staff, executed garbage picking in remote places in the wilderness, and helped to make art available to as many as possible during the pandemic - through digital exhibition in a public environment.
Apart from speaking English, I master fluent Swedish and Russian, as well as some Norwegian and Spanish - which can make the collaboration with other international team members more easy-going. Currently, I am also learning Japanese, because I am looking forward to be speaking to MZ in his native language! Learning a new language or a new skill is always a fun thing, and it keeps the brain trim and happy.
Finally - I am an artist, which should fall in line with the original plan of synergy between a lunar mission and artistic creativity. I do painting, drawing, sculpting and design. I'm fond of photography and am a member of a local photography club. I've produced both photo and video projects, and have started to document some of my adventures in videos. I've written songs, poetry, and co-written two books. Most importantly, I like to experiment and try out new techniques, new materials and new ways of thinking. Therefore, I believe that a trip around the moon will result in a lot of creative productivity.
|Modelling during an artistic project about future society, in a interactive game form|
For me, adventure is a part of life, dreaming is a way to survive, and art is the only way to leave a sustainable trace in the eternity. Of course, I hope that my experience, merits and attitude will help me to become a part of the dearMoon crew. In case there are other people that are more qualified to join, I will enjoy supporting them and following their journey from start to the end and beyond. Just the very fact that I could apply for a space trip made me happy, inspired and kicked off a lot of creative activity - so I'm very grateful for that already.
I truly hope to be able to continue to inspire people, and hope that the dreamers of the world will look at the moon and the night skies with another eyes, in the light of possibilities to come. Don't ever stop dreaming!
|The moon above the sea, photographed from my boat as I sailed around the world.|