Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa announced this week a contest to select eight people for a free trip around the moon in 2023. Billionaire Elon Musk is expected to kick off his moon mission. Maezawa named his trip the dearMoon project. According to the announcement, anyone can apply to become a member of what could be the first commercial flight around the moon and first return to the moon by humans since the last Apollo mission in 1972. The price he’s paying SpaceX for the flight hasn’t been disclosed, but he claims it is in excess of $110 million. SpaceX’s Starship is an innovative new design that has not been proven in space. A successful tourist flight to the moon would be a tremendous boost to space tourism and the commercial space industry.
The candidats for the trip will have to register by March 14th. The step 2 will be an initial screening followed by the assignement and an online interview. A medical checkup is needed and is scheduled in May 2021. The moon trip crew will follow a trainining / preparation modul to acquire necessary skills and knowledge. All people pre-registering will get a “Crew Candidate Certificate.“ Yusaku Maezawa, the founder of online fashion retailer ZOZOTOWN, is one of the the more eccentric billionaires of the world, known to be a strong supporter of the arts and sciences.