Need a Getaway? This Japanese Man Will Take You to the Moon

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa is looking for eight people to fly to the moon with him. You could be one of them. 

Maezawa, who earned much of his fortune through his online fashion retailer ZoZoTown, said he would pay for all expenses of the trip, on the Starship spacecraft developed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX. The six-day tour around the moon is set to start in 2023 and will be the first privatespace flight to fly beyond Earth’s orbit. 

Maezawa originally advertised for one “special woman” and six to eight international artists to join him on his travels. With his chosen life partner, he wanted to “shout our love and world peace from outer space.” (Note, however, that sound doesn’t travel in vacuum.) The six to eight additional crew members would serve as artists-in-spaceship. 

But on Wednesday, Maezawa changed his mind about who would be eligible passengers because he could no longer define an artist. 

“Should they be able to sing? Dance? Write? What kind of person is defined as an artist? Maybe everyone around the world who does something creative could fit that definition,” Maezawa said in a YouTube video released Wednesday. 

Now, he has just two criteria. Applicants should be individuals whose creative work will benefit from going to space. Bonus points if said work helps society or people in some way. Additionally, applicants must be willing to support other crew members aboard the spacecraft. 

According to Maezawa’s website, the pre-registration deadline is March 14, followed by screening and interviews. 

Space travel has piqued human interest since astronauts first landed on the moon in 1969. In the five decades since this great feat, advanced technology has encouraged civilians to explore venturing into the great unknown.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is one such keen civilian spearheading human spaceflight. Since 2012, SpaceX has been delivering cargo to and from the International Space Station. Last year, it started transporting people under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. SpaceX has been testing prototypes of Starship, the company’s biggest and most powerful spacecraft, in hopes of eventually colonizing Mars. 

In 2020, SpaceX successfully launched a record 26 missions. But sticking the landing for the massive Starship prototypes—they are taller than the Statue of Liberty—has proven more difficult.

In fact, on the same day Maezawa announced his open roll call for fellow flyers, a Starship prototype that stuck the landing for the first time burst into flames eight minutes after touchdown.

In Maezawa’s Wednesday video, posted before the latest Starship test flight ended in mixed success, Musk said the future of the spacecraft looked “very promising.”

“I’m highly confident that we will have reached orbit many times with Starship before 2023 and that it will be safe enough for human transport by 2023,” Musk said.

Maezawa is excited about his upcoming space-cation. “I’m most looking forward to seeing Earth, my blue and round home planet, with my own eyes. We might even be able to see an earthrise, when Earth looks like the sun as it comes up,” he said in the video.

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