Japanese billionaire seeks volunteers for SpaceX flight around the moon
TOKYO - Eccentric Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa is looking for eight civilian volunteers to blast off to the Moon with him on the first-ever private commercial space trip.
The week-long journey, initially announced in 2018 and named "dearMoon" is set for 2023 aboard Elon Musk's SpaceX Starship and Super Heavy Rocket, formerly known as the SpaceX Big Falcon Rocket.
Although the next-generation Starship is still in testing, some runs ending in fiery crashes, Musk has assured it will be ready to embark two years and has said he believes the mission will "make a real difference."
It will take three days to get to the lunar planet. The Starship will loop behind it and then start its three-day journey back home, making it the farthest distance any human has ever traveled from Earth.
In a video posted on Tuesday, the Zozo founder explained that the full passenger list will include 10 to 12 crew members. The 45-year-old will bankroll the expedition, though how remains unclear.
Although Maezawa had originally specified that applicants be artists, that plan has since "evolved."
"Every single person who is doing something creative could be called an artist…and that is why I wanted to reach out to a wider, more diverse audience," he said.
Now, the Start Today Co. CEO has just two requirements: to be able to push the envelope to help the "greater society" in some way and a have willingness to support other crew members who "share similar aspirations."
Each chosen participant will wear a custom-tailored SpaceX suit that is made to provide a pressurized environment for all members and route communications and cooling systems to the astronauts during regular flight.
Notably, in January of last year, Maezawa also launched a strange campaign to find a "female partner" who would accompany him, receiving 27,722 applications from single women older than 20 years old.
The selectee would co-star in a reality show about the process on Japanese streaming service AbemaTV.
However, following criticism, he quickly called off the search and issued an apology.
Right now, pre-applications for the selection process are due by March 14 at 6:59 p.m. PT and initial screening will begin a week later. The final interviews and medical checks are scheduled for late May.
Inspiration4, another civilian mission in support of St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, aims to lift off in SpaceX's Dragon -- which is already certified for human flight -- as soon as the end of the year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Get updates on this story at FOXBusiness.com.