It’s the kind of serendipity that comes only once in a blue moon: a Japanese billionaire is launching a private moon expedition to eight people from all over the world.
Yusaku Maezawa, an online fashion mogul, was announced in 2018 as the first man to book a spot on the Lunar spaceship developed by SpaceX.
Maezawa, who has paid an undisclosed sum for the flight expected to take off in 2023 at the earliest, said he plans to invite six to eight artists to join him on the journey around the moon.
But on Wednesday, in a video posted on his Twitter account, he revealed a wider application process.
“I invite you to join me in this mission. Eight of you are from all over the world.
“I have bought all the seats, so it will be a special trip,” he added.
Maezawa, 45, said his initial plan to invite artists “evolved” because he came to believe that “everyone who does something creative can be called an artist.”
The Japanese businessman said applicants would need to meet only two criteria: a willingness to “push the envelope” creatively, and a willingness to help other crew members do the same.
He said approximately 10 to 12 people will be on the spaceship, which is expected to orbit the moon before returning to Earth.
The application schedule for locations in the flight calls for pre-registration by March 14th, with initial screening taking place by March 21.
No deadlines have been set for the next stages – a “mission” and an online interview – but final interviews and medical checks are currently scheduled for late May 2021, according to Maezawa’s website.
Maezawa and his team of astronauts would become the first travelers to the Moon since America’s last Apollo mission in 1972 – if SpaceX could make the trip.
Last month, a prototype of the spacecraft crashed in a fireball while trying to land upright after a test flight, the second accident of its kind, after the last prototype of the spacecraft suffered a similar fate in December.
But the company hopes the reusable 394-foot (120 meters) missile system will transport crew and cargo to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk said in a Maezawa video released on Wednesday: “I am absolutely confident that we will reach orbit multiple times with the Starship before 2023 and that it will be safe enough to transport humans by 2023. It looks very promising.” .
Musk said the mission would be the first private space flight outside Earth’s orbit.
He added that since he will not land on the moon, but rather fly behind it, “we expect people to go farther than any human from the planet has gone to.”
Maezawa, known for his bizarre comments and extravagant lifestyle, including his penchant for extravagant art, was worth nearly $ 1.9 billion last year, making him one of Japan’s richest people.
He made his fortune as founder of online fashion store Zozo, which he sold to Yahoo! Japan in 2019.
Maezawa previously made headlines with an online advertisement for his girlfriend to join him on SpaceX’s journey – only to abruptly cancel the search, despite attracting nearly 30,000 applicants.
NASA plans to land astronauts on the moon, including the first woman, in 2024.
One of the goals of Artemis III’s expedition is to return a total of 85 kilograms (187 pounds) of moon samples – more than the average 64 kilograms brought by the Apollo missions between 1969 and 1972.