It’s the kind of luck that comes only once in a blue moon: a Japanese billionaire launches a private lunar expedition to eight people around the world.
Yusaku Maezawa, an online fashion mogul, was announced in 2018 as the first man to reserve a seat aboard the lunar spacecraft developed by SpaceX.
Maezawa, who paid an undisclosed sum for the trip set to launch no earlier than 2023, initially said he planned to invite six to eight artists to join him on the trip around the moon.
But on Wednesday, in a video posted to his Twitter account, he revealed a broader application process.
“I invite you to join me in this mission. Eight of you from all over the world, ”he said.
“I bought all the seats so it will be a private ride,” he added.
Maezawa, 45, said his original plan for inviting artists had “evolved” because he came to believe that “everyone who does something creative can be called an artist.”
The Japanese entrepreneur said applicants should meet only two criteria: be willing to “push the boundaries” creatively and be willing to help other crew members do the same.
In all, he said around 10 to 12 people would be on board the spacecraft, which is expected to circle the moon before returning to Earth.
The on-trip seat application timeline requires potential space travelers to pre-register by March 14, with the initial selection being made by March 21.
There is no deadline set for the next steps – a “mission” and an online interview – but final interviews and medical exams are currently scheduled for late May 2021, according to Maezawa’s website.
Maezawa and his gang of astronauts will become the first lunar travelers since the last US Apollo mission in 1972 – if SpaceX can make the trip a success.
Last month, a prototype of its Starship crashed into a fireball as it attempted to stand up after a test flight, the second such crash, after the last prototype of the Starship suffered a crash. similar fate in December.
But the company hopes the 120-meter (394-foot) reusable rocket system will someday transport crew and cargo to the Moon, Mars and beyond.
“I am very confident that we will have reached orbit several times with Starship before 2023 and that it will be safe enough for human transport by 2023. It looks very promising,” SpaceX founder Elon Musk said in the statement. Maezawa video posted Wednesday.
The mission will be the first private space flight beyond Earth orbit, Musk said.
Because it will not land on the Moon, but will loop behind it, “we expect people will go farther than any human has ever left planet Earth,” he said. added.
Maezawa, known for his eccentric commentaries and extravagant lifestyle, including a penchant for expensive art, was valued last year at around $ 1.9 billion, making him one of the most wealthier in Japan.
He made his fortune as the founder of the online fashion store Zozo, which he sold to Yahoo! Japan in 2019.
Maezawa previously made headlines with an online ad for a girlfriend to join him on his SpaceX flight – to abruptly cancel the chase, despite attracting nearly 30,000 applicants.
U.S. space agency NASA intends to land astronauts on the moon, including the first woman, in 2024.
One of the goals of his Artemis III voyage is to bring back a total of 85 kilograms (187 pounds) of lunar samples – more than the 64 kilogram average reported by the Apollo missions between 1969 and 1972.