It’s the kind of opportunity that appears once in every Blue Moon: a Japanese billionaire is opening a private lunar expedition to eight people from around the world.

Yusaku Maezawa, a fashion mogul in online, was announced in 2018 as the first man to reserve a spot aboard the lunar spacecraft being developed by SpaceX.

Maezawa, who paid an undisclosed sum for the trip expected to begin in 2023, Initially, he said he planned to invite six to eight artists to join him on the trip around the moon.

But on Wednesday, in a video posted to his Twitter account, he revealed a broader application process.

I invite you to join me in this mission. Eight of you from all over the world“, he said.

“I have bought all the seats, so it will be a private trip,” he added.

SpaceX Starship rocket prototype.

SpaceX Starship rocket prototype.

Maezawa, 45, said his initial plan to invite artists had “evolved” because he came to believe that “every person who is doing something creative could call themselves an artist.”

The Japanese businessman said applicants would need to meet only two criteria: be ready to creatively “go the extra mile” and be willing to help other crew members do the same.

In all, he said that around 10 to 12 people will be aboard the spacecraft, which is expected to circle the Moon before returning to Earth.

The application schedule for places on the trip requires potential space travelers to pre-register by March 14, and the initial evaluation will take place before March 21, and medical check-ups are scheduled for the end of May 2021, according to the Maezawa website.

Maezawa and his team of astronauts will become the first lunar travelers since the last American Apollo mission in 1972, if SpaceX can carry out the trip.

Yusaku Maezawa REUTERS / Kim Kyung-Hoon

Last month, a prototype of his Starship crashed into a fireball while attempting to land upright after a test flight, the second accident of its kind, after the last prototype of the Starship met a similar fate in December.

But the company hopes the 120-meter reusable rocket system will one day carry crews and cargo to the Moon, Mars and beyond.

I am very confident that we will have reached orbit many times with Starship before 2023 and that it will be safe enough for human transport in 2023. It looks very promising“SpaceX founder Elon Musk said in the Maezawa video posted Wednesday.

The mission will be the first private space flight beyond Earth’s orbit, Musk said.

Because it will not land on the Moon, but instead will travel behind it, “We hope that people will go further than any human being has ever gone from planet Earth.” He added.

SpaceX launched its first Starship during a test run in Boca Chica, Texas, on December 9, 2020. REUTERS / Gene Blevins / File Photo

SpaceX launched its first Starship during a test run in Boca Chica, Texas, on December 9, 2020.

Maezawa, known for his eccentric comments and flamboyant lifestyle, including his fondness for expensive art, his fortune was valued last year at around $ 1.9 billion, making him one of the richest people in Japan.

He made his fortune as the founder of the online fashion store Zozo, which he sold to Yahoo! Japan in 2019.

Maezawa had made headlines by announcing that he was starting an online search for a girlfriend to join him on the flight from SpaceX. However, he later canceled the dating contest, despite attracting nearly 30,000 applicants.

On the other hand, the US space agency NASA intends to take astronauts to the Moon, including the first woman, in 2024.

One of the goals of his Artemis III journey is to bring back a total of 85 kilograms (187 pounds) of lunar samples. It is, more than the average of 64 kilograms brought by the Apollo missions between 1969 and 1972.

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