By CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A Japanese billionaire is searching for eight members of the public to join him on a mission to orbit around the moon.
Yusaku Maezawa, who made headlines in 2018 when he was unveiled as SpaceX’s first private passenger to commission a trip around the moon, released a new video Tuesday to share updates on his pending mission.
“I’m inviting you to join me on this mission, eight of you from all around the world,” Maezawa said in the video.
He said the mission is now scheduled to take place in 2023 on a Starship spacecraft that is currently being developed by Elon Musk’s private space-faring firm SpaceX.
“I will pay for the entire journey,” Maezawa said. “Ten to 12 of us will be on board, and I hope that together we can make it a fun trip.”
Maezawa initially said his plan was to bring artists from around the world into space with him, but said Tuesday that this plan has “evolved.”
“I began to wonder … what do I mean by artists?” he said. “The more I though about it, the more ambiguous it became.”
“I began to think that maybe every single person who is doing something creative could be called an artist,” he added.
Now, Maezawa said the mission is open to anyone who has the goal of going into space “to help other people and greater society in some way.”
In addition, Maezawa said the crew members must be “willing and able to support other crew members who share similar aspirations.”
“If that sounds like you, please join me,” he said.
Musk also shared a message in the video, saying that the mission is significant because “it will be the first private spaceflight, first commercial spaceflight with humans beyond Earth orbit.”
He went on, “This has never occurred before and we’re going to go past the moon, so it will actually end up being further. This mission, we expect people will go further than any human has ever gone from planet Earth. Maezawa is also providing places on the ship for artists and others to join, so he wants this to be something that is exciting and inspiring for the whole world.”
Finally, Musk said he is “highly confident” that the Starship spacecraft will have reached orbit “many times” before 2023, and “that it will be safe enough for human transport by 2023.”
Those who want to join the mission can pre-register for the application process on the dearMoon mission’s website. Pre-registration must be submitted by March 14. Then there is a screening, assignment and interview process — though further details for how the crew will be selected were not disclosed.
The final interview round and medical checkup for the crew is expected to happen in late May 2021.
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