Japanese billionaire splashes the cash to break retweet record

spacex to fly japanese billionaire yusaku maezawa the moon

Japanese billionaire and upcoming SpaceX moon tourist Yusaku Maezawa has just broken the retweet record, though he had to shell out a wad of cash to make it happen.

As of Monday night, January 7, Maezawa’s message had been retweeted on Twitter 5.6 million times, smashing the previous record of 3.6 million by Carter Wilkerson.

Wilkerson’s record came about as part of an effort to get a year’s supply of free chicken nuggets from Wendy’s, while Maezawa’s was the result of a contest offering to share 100 million yen (about $920,000) among 100 randomly selected people who retweeted his tweet, equaling a payout of around $9,200 for each winner. They also had to follow him if they didn’t already, a condition that’s worked a treat as Maezawa’s follower count has leaped from 500,000 to 6.2 million in the space of just a few days.

The tweet included an image of a Japanese New Year’s card with a picture of a rocket flying past the moon, a nod to the billionaire’s upcoming trip with SpaceX, if all goes to plan.

The excuse for the publicity-grabbing contest was a celebration of record holiday sales by Zozotown, the online fashion mall launched by Maezawa in 2004.

The 43-year-old former punk-band drummer turned entrepreneur is reportedly worth around $3 billion and is listed by Forbes as the 18th richest person in Japan. Maezawa started out selling CDs and records of his favorite bands by mail from his home before launching online fashion mall Zozotown in 2004. He loves modern art, too, evidenced by an $80 million payout for paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Pablo Picasso in 2016.

SpaceX moon mission

The billionaire came to international attention in September 2017 when he was announced by Elon Musk — a fellow entrepreneur with a knack for self-publicity — as the first paying passenger for SpaceX’s proposed 2023 moon mission.

If it goes ahead, the five-day round trip will involve a fly-by of the moon, making it the first manned lunar trip since 1972, when the last U.S. Apollo mission took place.

Maezawa said he wants to share the journey with eight artists that he hopes will include top musicians, fashion designers, and painters, among others. He’s yet to reveal who he’s going to invite, though whether they accept or not is another question entirely.

Emerging Tech

After a record-setting 15 years, NASA ends Opportunity rover’s tour of Mars

NASA has officially called it quits on its record-setting Mars rover Opportunity, eight months after last hearing from the lander. The Rover landed on the Red Planet in early 2004.
Movies & TV

J.J. Abrams wraps production on Star Wars: Episode IX with a heartfelt message

Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams has wrapped production on Star Wars: Episode IX, which he directed and co-wrote. Here's everything we know about the movie before it premieres in December 2019.
Gaming

Take some time to reminisce with the 25 best Sega Genesis games of all time

Although the company has since fallen into obscurity, Sega was an indisputable titan throughout the '90s. That said, here are 25 best Sega Genesis games that helped define its fabled decade.
Emerging Tech

Virgin Galactic donates record-breaking SpaceShipTwo rocket to the Smithsonian

Private space company Virgin Galactic recently donated the record-breaking rocket motor of SpaceShipTwo — aka VSS Unity — to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
Movies & TV

Jason Momoa and Oscar Isaac may join cast of the star-studded Dune reboot

Aquaman and Poe Dameron -- i.e., Jason Momoa and Oscar Isaac -- are two of the latest actors rumored to be joining the star-studded cast of Dune, Denis Villeneuve's epic adaptation of Frank Herbert's best-selling sci-fi novel.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s MAVEN orbiter has a new job as a communication relay for Mars 2020

NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) orbiter has been collecting atmospheric readings but now is taking on a new job as a data relay satellite for the Mars 2020 mission that launches next year.
Emerging Tech

Underground volcanoes could explain possible liquid water on Mars

Last year scientists discovered there could be liquid water on Mars. Now a research team argues that for there to be liquid water, there must be an underground source of heat -- and they believe underground volcanoes could be responsible.
Movies & TV

The Breaking Bad sequel might air on Netflix before it arrives on AMC

A Breaking Bad sequel starring Jesse Pinkman (and, possibly, Walter White) is on the way from series creator Vince Gilligan, and you might get your first look at it on Netflix, not traditional cable.
Smart Home

Consumer groups call out retailers in a bid for better IoT security

Consumer groups posted a "Dear retailer" letter on February 12 that called out Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon, and Target, shaming the companies for selling insecure smart home devices.
Movies & TV

Marvel’s streaming Loki series gets a plot summary and a showrunner

A Rick & Morty writer will oversee Marvel's Loki series for Disney Plus. Tom Hiddleston is expected to reprise his role for the show, while the series' premise offers a few hints as to how Loki might return from the dead.
Smart Home

Walmart slashes prices on Google Home during its Presidents’ Day sale

Walmart slashes prices on Google Home during its Presidents' Day sale. Whether you're taking your first step in configuring a smart home or expanding to every room, Walmart has excellent sale prices for all the key components.
Photography

Photography news: Wacom’s slimmer pen, Leica’s cinema special edition

In this week's photography news, Wacom launches a new slimmer pen for pro users. Leica's upcoming M10-P is designed for cinema, inside and out, with built-in cinema modes in the updated software.
Emerging Tech

A river of stars one billion years old flows across the southern sky

Astronomers have identified a river of stars flowing across our galaxy and covering most of the southern sky. The estimated 4000 stars that comprise the stream were born together and have been moving together for the last one billion years.
Emerging Tech

Descending at an angle could be key to landing heavier craft on Mars

Landing on Mars is a challenge: The heavier the craft, the more difficult a safe landing becomes. Scientists propose using retropropulsion engines and angling the craft to create a pressure differential to land heavier crafts in the future.