SpaceX private moon mission has eight free seats up for grabs

If you’re growing weary of your usual vacation spots, then how about venturing somewhere a little different next time. Like … the moon?

Of course it sounds like a ridiculous idea, and it probably is. But Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, with the help of SpaceX, claims he can make it happen as early as 2023.

If you recall, Maezawa is the fella who three years ago booked himself a round trip to the moon on SpaceX’s in-development Starship rocket. At the time, he offered the other seats on the spacecraft to established artists.

The  45-year-old entrepreneur kind of went quiet for a while (apart from his somewhat bizarre and now-abandoned matchmaking contest idea to find a “special someone” to join him on the trip) before this week stepping back into the spotlight with a new announcement about the upcoming mission, called “dearMoon.”

We’re all artists

In a video released on Tuesday, March 2, Maezawa, who made his fortune with an online fashion mall that became the largest in Japan, said the plan to take artists has now changed after he gave some thought to what exactly he meant by the word “artist.”

It turns out we’re all artists now, whether or not we’re known for our creative endeavors. With that in mind, Maezawa says he’s now offering eight seats for the moon flyby to anyone that sees themselves as an artist. Yes, it’s that simple.

Except … there are two key criteria. First, he only wants to hear from people who think big and want to do big things, especially when it comes to helping society in some way. And second, you have to be “willing and able to support other crew members who share similar aspirations.”

Four additional people (plus Maezawa) will also travel aboard the spacecraft, though at this point it’s not clear who (established artists, perhaps?).

SpaceX boss Elon Musk also shows up in the video, confirming that the mission will be the first private spaceflight to take humans beyond Earth orbit.

Bugs to work out

Of course, there are some issues that have to be resolved before the mission can take place. For starters, SpaceX needs to find a way to stop the Starship rocket from crashing when it comes back to land on Earth, something that’s happened on both of its high-altitude test flights to date. But given that the SpaceX team is now able to land its workhorse Falcon 9 rocket almost perfectly every time on regular missions, there’s every chance it’ll be able to nail the Starship landing before too long, as well.

The 2023 timeline still looks a bit tight, meaning it could be a while yet before Maezawa and his fellow space travelers get to whiz around the moon on the six-day trip.

Interested folks are asked to fill out a form on the dearMoon mission website to find out more about the selection process.

Maezawa’s redrawn plan follows a flurry of similar announcements for private trips in recent months. Axiom Space, for example, said it plans to take a crew of private citizens to the International Space Station in 2022, also using SpaceX’s transportation hardware, while Shift4 Payments founder and CEO Jared Isaacman recently unveiled the Inspiration4 mission, again with SpaceX, that will take himself and three members of the public on a trip into Earth orbit later this year.

There’s a much better chance of these two missions taking place on schedule as they’ll be using SpaceX hardware, such as the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Capsule, that’s already been thoroughly tried and tested in Earth orbit.

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