Photo: Yusaku Maezawa/Twitter

Japanese Billionaire Invites Eight People to Travel to the Moon for Free

News Astronomy
by Eben Diskin Mar 3, 2021

This Japanese billionaire is taking the whole “apply to win a free vacation!” thing to the next level. Back in 2018, fashion mogul Yusaku Maezawa announced that he would be inviting a group of artists with him on a six-day trip around the moon. Now, he’s actually opening applications for those eight coveted spots and expanding his definition of “artist.” Originally it only applied to singers, dancers, painters, and other traditional creatives, but now Maezawa wants to include people of any profession on his 2023 space journey, as long as they identify as an artist.

Maezawa’s space mission is called Dear Moon, and the website now includes a link where applicants can pre-register through March 14. According to the site, applicants should be eager to “push the envelope” in their field of work by going to space, in order “to help others and greater society.” They should also be a team player, prepared to support their fellow crew members during the trip, CNN reports.

The call for crew members has been successful as more than 100,000 applications from 268 countries and areas have been received in only 17 hours.

Maezawa, who is paying for the trip, will choose eight candidates from the public plus at least one other person. While it’s not clear who this person might be, last year Maezawa announced his search for a “life partner” to join him in space, so he’s likely saving a spot for a potential girlfriend. The rocket will accommodate 10 to 12 people in total.

The mission will take place aboard SpaceX’s Starship rocket, which is expected to be conducting regular flights by 2023. If the Starship rocket proves successful, Maezawa’s crew would be the first-ever group of private citizens to travel past low-Earth orbit.

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