Japanese billionaire will take eight internet users with him around the moon for free

If a free trip around the moon sounds to you like the ultimate adventure, you’re invited to try for a seat on SpaceX’s Starship.

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa announced Tuesday that he’ll choose eight members of the public to go there with him in 2023—and he’ll even foot the bill to boot.

As CNBC notes, this event will make history as the first-ever private lunar mission.

Who is Yusaku Maezawa and what is his mission?

Maezawa made his fortune through the founding of his fashion retail company, Zozotown. CNBC further reports how he resigned in 2019 and sold a majority stake to SoftBank.

According to the news station, Maezawa made the initial announcement about the mission—called dearMoon—in 2018 along with SpaceX founder, Elon Musk. Back then, the the plan was to fly artists on a trip to lunar orbit. Now the mission has evolved to flying “10 to 12 people in all,” eight of which will be “members of the public, who Maezawa plans to pick.”

Elon Musk explained that the rocket’s flight path for the historic mission—which will take three days to fly to the moon, loop behind it in orbit, and then take three more days to return—”means it will go beyond the distance traveled by the Apollo missions.”

CNBC additionally cites Musk, who said: “This mission we expect people will go further than any human has ever gone from planet Earth.”

How does one pre-register for a chance to fly with dearMoon?

According to the dearMoon website, “pre-registration is open until March 14,″ and “[everyone] who pre-registers will receive an email about the selection process.” Click on “Join the Crew,” and you will see that the “pre-registration application requests a name, country, email address, and a profile picture.” The website says an initial screening process begins March 21, with a “final interview and medical checkup” in late May of this year.

What are the criteria to fly?

According to CNBC, “there are two ‘key criteria’ for any person who applies to fly with Maezawa: First, that a prospective passenger can advance ‘whatever activity’ they are into ‘by going to space.’”

Maezawa himself added: “By going to space could you do something that’s even better, even bigger? ...the eight aspiring astronauts must ‘be willing and able to support other crew members who share similar aspirations.”

What progress has SpaceX made towards developing Starship?

According to CNBC, the project is sticking with its 2023 goal for the mission’s launch, and SpaceX has continued its work on developing Starship.

Musk’s goal is for Starship “to be fully reusable—not just the booster, which is the bottom portion of the rocket,” but rather “by landing and relaunching in a way more similar to a commercial airliner.”

Although SpaceX has not yet reached orbit with a Starship rocket, CNBC said “it is rapidly building and testing prototypes at its facility in Boca Chica, Texas.”

Source: CNBC

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