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Japanese billionaire seeks 8 volunteers for SpaceX flight around the moon



Want to get away? A Japanese billionaire is looking for eight volunteers to fly to the moon with him on Elon Musk’s spaceship.

“It will take three days to reach the moon, loop behind it and three days to return,” Yusaku Maezawa said in a video on Tuesday. “I pay for the whole trip.”

Applications are due by March 14, with first screenings starting shortly after. Final interviews and medical check-ups are scheduled to be contested by the end of May.

The mission to fly around the moon and back – called dearMoon – is scheduled for 2023 on a SpaceX Starship. Although the spacecraft is still in the early stages of testing, Musk says he is confident it will be ready in two years. The first two Starship test flights have ended with explosive crash landings.

Maezawa, an entrepreneur and art collector who founded the electronic fashion company Zozo 3092,
-1

.33%
– which he sold to SoftBank 9984,
+ 1.54%
for $ 900 million in 2019 – bought the right to be SpaceX’s first lunar tourist in 2018.

The plane will have 10-12 people in total, including the eight civilians. “I hope we can make it a fun trip together,” Maezawa said.

Maezawa’s original plan two years ago was to invite artists on the tour, but that plan has since “evolved”, he said, when he decided that “artist” was too ambiguous a term.

“Every single person who does something creative can be called an artist … and that’s why I wanted to reach a wider and more diverse audience.”

Maezawa said there are two important criteria for those who want to fly to space with him: a willingness to push the envelope to create a better society, and a willingness to support others, including crew members, in their ambitions.

“These two criteria will be the key to selecting the eight crew members,” he said.

In the video, Musk pointed out that the mission will be the first commercial spaceflight with humans traveling outside Earth’s orbit. It will actually go past the moon, Musk said, so “we expect people to go further than any human has ever left the planet Earth.”

It is unclear how much the moon mission costs Maezawa. In 2018, Musk only said that it is “a lot of money.” But Maezawa is no stranger to splurging – he used a record $ 110.5 million for a Basquiat painting at an auction in 2017, and admitted to losing $ 41 million in day trading in 2020.


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