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Want to Go on SpaceX Flight to the Moon? He's Paying

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa launches contest for 8 to ride with him to lunar orbit in 2023
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2021 7:21 AM CST

(Newser) – It's a Frank Sinatra song come to life, courtesy of a billionaire. In 2018, tycoon and art collector Yusaku Maezawa, founder of Japanese online fashion mall Zozotown, was announced as the first signed passenger aboard SpaceX's Starship rocket, set to fly to the moon sometime in 2023. At the time, Maezawa said he'd be bringing along "six to eight artists" on his mission, who'd be "asked to create something after they return to Earth," per the Verge. There's since been a "pretty significant update": Now the spots are up for grabs to anyone, with Maezawa opening up his dearMoon contest to the general public, not just traditional artists, reports the BBC. That's because the more he thought about it, "maybe every single person who is doing something creative could be called an artist," Maezawa says in a YouTube video posted Tuesday.

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Toward that end, there are two criteria for applicants: They need to want "to help other people and greater society in some way," as well as be "willing to support other crew members who share similar aspirations." Maezawa says there will be "10 to 12 people in all" on his "private ride," but perhaps most important: "I will pay for the entire journey." CNBC reports the rocket will take three days to get to the moon, at which point the rocket will "loop behind it in orbit" before making its three-day return trip. "This mission we expect people will go further than any human has ever gone from planet Earth," Elon Musk has said. Per the dearMoon site, astronaut wannabes have til March 14 to "preregister" (ie, to provide basic info like name, contact info, and a profile pic), with an "initial screening" starting March 21. The "final interview and medical checkup" will take place at the end of May. "I hope that together we can make it a fun trip," Maezawa says in his video. (Read more space travel stories.)

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