Fly to the Moon? Japanese billionaire seeks 8 people for a space trip

Frank Sinatra sang about flying to the moon, but a Japanese billionaire offers a lunar voyage to eight aspiring astronauts in real life.

Eccentric fashion mogul Yusaku Maezawa is seeking candidates from around the world to take a seat on a ride on Elon Musk’s SpaceX flight in 2023.

Maezawa shared the details of the app on Twitter Wednesday morning. He called on people to apply “from all kinds of backgrounds” in a video posted on YouTube.

Maezawa, 45, has promised to cover the costs of those selected in her mission, titled dearMoon.

The billionaire and CEO of Japanese fashion retailer Zozo was the first private passenger to reserve a spot on Elon Musk’s space expedition in 2018 for an undisclosed amount.

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa poses in his shirt with an image of the Earth during an interview with Reuters in Tokyo, Japan, on March 3, 2021.Kim Kyung-Hoon / Reuters

About 12 people in total will fly around the moon and return in the week-long trip, Maezawa said.

“I have bought all the seats, so it will be a private trip,” he added.

Maezawa had originally planned to invite six to eight artists to join him, but revealed on Wednesday that he would expand the pool of applicants.

“I wanted to reach a wider and more diverse audience,” he said, speaking from his home in Chiba, Japan. “If you see yourself as an artist, then you are an artist.”

Known for his high spending on art and sports, Maezawa is no stranger to publicity stunts and has a penchant for pondering ideas, such as a world without money.

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Last year, the dazzled billionaire hoped to find a romantic partner for the lunar adventure, before canceling search after having developed “mixed feelings”. Approximately 27,000 women had already signed up to participate in a matchmaking documentary on Japanese television.

Maezawa also promised to give away the equivalent of $ 9 million to his Followers on Twitter in what he called a “social experiment” to see if the extra money would increase happiness in 2020.

In Wednesday’s video appeal, the businessman sat behind a painting of crows and herons by Hasegawa Tōhaku, one of Japan’s most prominent artists, and spread his arms to imitate a bird spreading its wings.

The details of the selection criteria remain unclear. The application link asks for basic details before revealing the admissions process.

In his video, the businessman said applicants would be judged on their ability to “go the extra mile” creatively and be willing to help other crew members do the same.

The mission would mark the first human lunar voyage since 1972.

“I’m a little scared. But I’m more curious,” he said, expressing his complete confidence in Elon Musk’s technology.

Arata Yamamoto contributed.

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