The founder of the Cirque du soleil may do some clowning around when he visits the International Space Station later this month.

Guy Laliberte says his trip to space will carry a serious message - aside from a familiar red face ornament.

"I will probably wear my clown's nose at some moment of that (trip)," Laliberte told a news conference which was broadcast live from Moscow on the web.

Soon to become Canada's first space tourist, Laliberte celebrated his 50th birthday Wednesday. He's in the final stages of preparing to blast off aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft on Sept. 30.

The Quebec billionaire, who began his circus career as a fire-breather, conceded he won't be able to ply that old trade during his 12-day mission. But he says he may try some juggling in the gravity-free environment.

Still, Laliberte stressed that his main focus will be to get ready for what he describes as his poetic social mission in space.

He's planning a live webcast and events in 14 cities on five continents on Oct. 9. Each event will have its own theme related to water.

Laliberte announced that a list of international personalities will take part, including former U.S. vice-president Al Gore, rockers U2, Peter Gabriel and Shakira, and Canadian astronaut Julie Payette.

He said that, for two hours, world-renowned figures will demonstrate their commitment to water and pay tribute to the important resource.

"All these people are with me because they share the same worries we have about water," he said.

"They also share my belief that through art and emotion we can convey a universal message."

Laliberte said that, to his great surprise, most of the people approached "reacted positively" and made room on their agenda to be part of the event.

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