Fly me to the Moon: Japan billionaire offers space seats

Fly me to the Moon: Japan billionaire offers space seats
TOKYO: It's the kind of opportunity that only shows up once in the dark Moon: a Japanese billionaire opens a private lunar expedition for eight people from around the world.
Yusaku Maezawa, an online fashion mogul, was announced in 2018 as the first man to book a spot aboard the SpaceX-developed lunar spaceship.
Maezawa, who paid an undisclosed amount for the journey expected to start in 2023 at the earliest, originally said he planned to invite six to eight performers to join him on the journey around the moon .
But on Wednesday, he revealed a broader application process in a video on his Twitter account.
& # 39; I invite you to join me on this mission. Eight of you from all over the world, & # 39; he said.
"I bought all the seats, so it will be a private ride," he added.
Maezawa, 45, said his initial plan to invite artists "evolved" because he came to believe that "any person who does something creative could be called an artist."
The Japanese entrepreneur said applicants should meet only two criteria: be willing to creatively "push the envelope" and be willing to help other crew members do the same.
In total, he said there will be about 10 to 12 people on board the spaceship, which is expected to orbit the moon before returning to Earth.
According to the travel spots application timeline, potential space travelers must pre-register by March 14, with an initial screening on March 21.
No deadlines are given for the next stages – an "assignment" and an online interview – but the final interviews and medical checkups are currently scheduled for the end of May 2021, according to the Maezawa website.
Maezawa and his gang of astronauts will become the first lunar travelers since the last US Apollo mission in 1972 – if SpaceX can save the journey.
Last month, a prototype of its Starship crashed into a fireball when attempting to land upright after a test flight, the second accident, after the last Starship prototype suffered a similar fate in December.
But the company hopes the 120-meter reusable rocket system will one day transport crew and cargo to the Moon, Mars and beyond.
"I am confident that we will have reached orbit many times with Starship by 2023 and that it will be safe enough for human transport by 2023. It looks very promising," said SpaceX founder Elon Musk in Maezawa & # 39; s video posted Wednesday.
The mission will be the first private space flight outside of Earth's orbit, Musk said.
Since it will not land on the moon, but loop behind it, "we expect humans to go further than any human has ever been removed from planet Earth," he added.
Known for his eccentric comments and extravagant lifestyle, including a penchant for expensive art, Maezawa was valued at around $ 1.9 billion last year, making him one of Japan's richest people.
He made his fortune as the founder of online fashion retailer 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 hunt, despite attracting nearly 30,000 applicants.
The US space agency NASA plans to land astronauts on the moon in 2024, including the first woman.
One of the goals of his Artemis III voyage is to recover a total of 85 kilograms of lunar samples – more than the average 64 kilograms brought back by Apollo missions between 1969 and 1972.

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