Japanese billionaire seeks eight members of public to fly to the moon with him for free

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa is seeking eight crew members from the general public to join him on the first private trip around the moon on a flight operated by Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

“I’m inviting you to join me on this mission,” Mr Maezawa, 45, said in a video posted on Twitter. “I want people from all kinds of backgrounds to join.”

The fashion mogul also shared a link with application details alongside the announcement of the opportunity to accompany him on the expedition. Those interested in taking part need to register themselves by 14 March, with the initial screening carried out by 21 March.

Mr Maezawa was the first man to book a place on the voyage to the moon in 2018, at an undisclosed price. He had initially planned to invite six to eight artists to join him in the lunar spaceship, instead of the general public.

The project, called dearMoon, is planned for 2023 and will now take “10 to 12 people in all,” with eight of the crew being members of the public. The billionaire has told reporters he is paying for the mission in its entirety, meaning those coming on board will do so for free.

“I have bought all the seats, so it will be a private ride,” he said in the video on Twitter.

Applicants on the lunar expedition need to meet two criteria. They should be ready to “push the envelope” in their creative field and be willing to support other crew members, he was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

The space voyage would be the first lunar journey by humans since the US’s Apollo mission in 1972. It will take three days to fly to the moon, loop behind it in orbit and take another three days to return.

Because it will not land on the moon but loop behind the satellite, the mission is expected to go beyond the distance travelled by the Apollo mission. “This mission we expect people will go further than any human has ever gone from planet Earth,” Mr Musk has previously said.

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