In what can truly be called a very quirky display of magnanimity, a Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has invited eight people to join him for a free trip around the moon on Elon Musk's SpaceX flight.
To the moon & back, literally!
The rather extraordinary invitation is actually not exclusive as the billionaire kicked off a global contest along with his invitation. The contest is to select eight crew members that will join him on the private SpaceX flight around the moon in 2023.
In a video message Maezawa shares the link to apply for the contest along with the message, "It will be 10 to 12 people in all, but I will be inviting 8 people to come along on the ride." The criteria of shortlisting and selecting the right candidates would be based on how they would "push the envelope" in their respective fields with this trip.
"I hope we can make it a fun trip," he further said, adding this trip is actually open for all people and gives equal opportunity to participate. "I am looking for people from all kinds of backgrounds to join." Giving further details of the trip, he adds, "It will take three days to get to the Moon, loop behind it and three days to come back. I will pay for the entire trip, I have bought all the seats, so it will be a private ride."
The screening process of the applicants will begin from March 21 onwards with final interviews and medical check-ups scheduled for May. This will be the first such mission conducted on a commercial basis. Joining in the invitational video is Elon Musk, who says, "I think we'll make a real difference." The final crew will be going on the rocket 'Starship' which is currently being developed by SpaceX.
The host with the most
Who is Yusaku Maezawa? More importantly, why is he funding a trip to the moon? The Japanese billionaire first came to worldwide prominence two years ago when he announced that he would like to invite artists from around the world to come along with him on this trip.
What does he mean by artists? He says, "A singer? A dancer? A writer? The more I thought about it, the more ambiguous it became. Every single person who is doing something creative can be called an artist."
The Japanese entrepreneur and art collector is also the founder and former chief executive of online fashion retailer Zozo Inc. Zozotown is now Japan's largest fashion retail website. Last year, he also offered one million yen to each 1,000 randomly selected people who retweeted his message. With this, he secured the most amount of retweets for his Twitter message as more than 4 million people ended up following and retweeting him.
Are people elated? Who is applying?
Many were just excited at the random prospect of their human kind invading the space on a commercial basis.