Space's First Clown Reaches ISS
Guy Laliberte, the billionaire founder of Cirque du Soleil, arrived at the International Space Station Oct. 1 and-to no one's surprise-slapped on a clown nose and began yukking it up with crew members of the space station. Laliberte is the seventh paying (reportedly $35 million) space tourist to travel to the station.
Laliberte blasted off into space early Sept. 30 aboard a Russian Soyuz craft along with Russian cosmonaut Maxim Surayev and American astronaut Jeffrey Williams. While Surayev and Williams are scheduled for a six-month tour of duty at the space station, Laliberte is returning to Earth Oct. 11.
"I'm adapting pretty good. I love that thing [the space station], but I ain't staying six months," Laliberte said in a video linkup between the space station and Russian Mission Control outside Moscow.
In addition to a weightless juggling show, Laliberte also said he plans to bring some levity to the usually somber space station operations, suggesting tickling the ISS' crew in their sleep and other hijinks.
But the big show is scheduled for Oct. 9, when Laliberte plans to coordinate from space a 14-city show on Earth featuring former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, Peter Gabriel and U2 seeking to raise awareness through "artistic illustration of the humanitarian struggles and solutions associated with water." Laliberte is founder of the One Drop Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that everyone across the planet has access to water.
The event will take place simultaneously in Montreal; Moscow; Santa Monica, Calif.; New York City; Johannesburg; Mumbai; Marrakesh; Sydney; Osaka; Tampa, Fla.; Mexico City; Rio de Janeiro; Paris; and London and will be broadcast globally. In addition, the 120-minute show will be Webcast through the One Drop Foundation.
"The Earth will gaze up at the stars and resonate to the rhythms of artists and world-renowned figures who will demonstrate their commitment to water and pay tribute to this vitally important natural resource," states a press release from Laliberte.
Other performers who have committed to the event include actors Matthew McConaughey and Salma Hayek; singers Joss Stone, Elisapie Isaac, Helene Segara, Jean-Jacques Goldman, Michel Fugain, Natasha St Pier, Lorie and Zazie; musical group Ladysmith Black Mambazo; Bolshoi Ballet principal dancer Nicolai Tsiskaridze; and poet Touria Ikbal.