The Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa invited public participants to apply to win a seat on SpaceX's Starship when Mawzawa goes on his private mission to the moon in 2023, according to a Tuesday tweet from the billionaire.
No, this isn't a cyberpunk novel: A Japanese billionaire just said he wants to select eight people from around the world to fly to the moon with him.
Japanese billionaire wants eight people to join him on his private moon mission
"I want people from all kinds of backgrounds to join," said Maezawa in a new video shared on YouTube. "It will be 10 to 12 people in all, but I will be inviting 8 people to come along on the ride."
Maezawa is the founder of Japan's largest online fashion retailer — and is worth $2 billion. His forthcoming journey as Starship's first signed passenger was announced back in 2018 during an event with SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk, at the company's California headquarters.
This is where Maezawa — who is also a renowned art collector — debuted his Dear Moon Project, which is slated to bring "six to eight artists from around the world" to join him in a lunar flyby mission expected to take roughly six days in 2023.
"These artists will be asked to create something after they return to Earth, and these masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us," said Maezawa during the event.
Maezawa had sought a 'female partner' for moon trip
News on the project wasn't abundant in the intervening years since the 2018 announcement. In Jan. 2020, Maezawa executed a baffling campaign in search of a "female partner" to accompany him on the trip to the moon. A website for the contest included 27,722 applications, and Japanese streaming service AbemaTV aimed to document the mission in a reality show titled "Full Moon Lovers."
However, the show was later canceled as Maezawa called off his search for what appears to be an intimate space partner due to "personal reasons," according to a tweet from the billionaire, in which he apologized to the AbemaTV crew — and the applicants, of course.
Starship's first orbital flight could happen by end of 2021
SpaceX's Starship is the first reusable Mars rocket system built to transport humans — along with a maximum of 100 tons of cargo — on future crewed missions into deep space. The private aerospace company has executed a rapid test flow for several early iterations of the next-gen rocket from Boca Chica, Texas.
Two recent high-altitude Starship tests launched and flew with great success, but both prototypes exploded in a wild ball of fire upon attempting a landing. While the development timeline has been unpredictable, Musk and SpaceX's President Gwynne Shotwell have said Starship's first orbital flight might happen before 2021 is finished.
This was a breaking story and was regularly updated as new information became available.