Japanese billionaire seeks eight people for free trip to the moon
Always wanted to fly to the moon but don't quite have the funds? Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa is looking to pay for your trip.
The CEO of fashion retailer Zozo is seeking eight people to fly with him to the moon aboard Elon Musk's SpaceX flight in 2023 — the first civilian lunar trip.
This week, Maezawa opened applications for the rare opportunity, which he calls "dearMoon." He said in an announcement video that people "from all kinds of backgrounds" are encouraged to apply.
The fashion tycoon, 45, was the first private passenger to book a spot on the expedition — for an undisclosed price. Up to 12 people in total are expected to join the mission.
"I will pay for the entire journey. I have bought all the seats, so it will be a private ride," he said. "I hope that together, we can make it a fun trip."
Maezawa said he originally planned to invite "artists" to join him, but his idea evolved when he realized that "every single person who is doing something creative could be called an artist."
Maezawa is known for outlandish publicity stunts. In February 2020, he pulled the plug on his high-profile campaign to recruit a soulmate for the moon journey, after receiving applications from nearly 28,000 potential romantic partners.
The rocket for the week-long mission, "Starship," is currently in development. Earlier this month, an unpiloted test flight of the rocket ended with a spectacular explosion when the rocket failed to right itself and slow down enough for its landing. However, Maezawa said he trusts Musk and SpaceX.
There are two key criteria to apply for the trip, Maezawa specified.
First, he said that "whatever activity you are into, by going to space, I hope that you can push its envelope, to help other people." He also said that he is looking for people who "could do something that's even better, even bigger" than what they are doing on Earth.
The second criterion is being willing and able to support other crew members. Other details were not disclosed.
According to the dearMoon website, pre-registration closes March 14, with initial screenings by March 21. The final interview and medical checkup is expected to occur by May of this year.
"We're going to go past the moon, so it will actually end up being further, this mission, we expect people will go further than any human has ever gone from planet Earth," Musk said in Tuesday's video.
As for Maezawa, he said he's most looking forward to viewing Earth with his own eyes, and seeing "Earthrise."
"I want to be reminded of how small, how insignificant I am," he said, adding that he is a bit scared, but more curious, for the journey.
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