By Yasmine Salam – NBC News
Singer Frank Sinatra asked to be flown to the moon in his classic Fly me to the moon 1964. Now, more than half a century later, it is a Japanese billionaire who offers that trip with all expenses paid to anyone who meets his requirements.
Eccentric fashion mogul Yusaku Maezawa is seeking candidates from around the world to take a seat in 2023 on a spacecraft owned by the aerospace company SpaceX. Elon Musk, the richest man in the world since January.
Maezawa, 45, has promised to cover the costs of those selected in his mission, called dearMoon (dear moon, in English).
The billionaire and CEO of ZOZO was the first private passenger to reserve a spot on Elon Musk’s expedition in 2018. The amount he spent was not disclosed.
— Yusaku Maezawa (MZ) (@yousuckMZ) March 2, 2021
About 12 people will fly around the Moon in a week-long trip, according to the businessman. “I have bought all the seats, so it will be a private trip,” he added.
Maezawa had originally planned to invite artists to join him, but revealed on Wednesday that he broadens the pool of applicants: “I wanted to reach a wider and more diverse audience.”
Known for his high spending on art and sports, Maezawa is no stranger to publicity stunts and has a penchant for pondering eccentric ideas, such as a world without money.
Last year, the billionaire hoped to find a romantic partner for his lunar adventure, before calling off the search after developing “mixed feelings.” Approximately 27,000 women had already signed up to participate in a documentary on Japanese television.
Maezawa also promised to give away the equivalent of $ 9 million to his Twitter followers in a “social experiment” to see if that money would help increase their happiness in 2020.
In the video posted on Wednesday, the businessman sat behind a painting of crows and herons by Hasegawa Tōhaku, one of Japan’s most prominent artists, and spread his arms to imitate a bird spreading its wings.
In his video, the businessman said applicants would be judged on their ability to “go the extra mile” creatively and be willing to help other crew members do the same.
Although the details of the selection criteria remain unclear, the application link asks for basic details before revealing the process.
“I’m a little scared. But I’m more curious,” Maezawa stated, expressing his complete confidence in Elon Musk’s technology.