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Japanese billionaire seeks 8 crewmembers for moon-bound mission on SpaceX's Starship

March 2, 2021, the dearMoon contest called for applicants to make up its eight-person crew.  (Image credit: dearMoon/SpaceX)

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa is looking for eight crewmembers for a mission to the moon.

Maezawa, a controversial entrepreneur who previously held a "girlfriend contest" for a now-defunct space-bound mission, announced Tuesday (March 2) that his dearMoon project, which aims to fly the "first civilian mission to the moon," according to the project website, is now looking for eight crewmembers to fly to and around the moon and back on SpaceX's Starship spacecraft. 

The project was announced in 2018 with the original intent to bring a crew of artists to the moon. In this latest release, Maezawa calls for applicants to make up a crew of eight individuals from around the world for the week-long lunar trip.

For more information about the project and applicant requirements, check out the dearMoon website here

Related: How SpaceX's lunar flight with Yusaku Maezawa will work

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In the video announcing this call for civilian astronauts, which features heavy rock music and footage of SpaceX's Starship lifting off, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk voiced his support for the mission, stating "I think we'll make a real difference."

"I'm inviting you to join me on this mission. Eight of you from all around the world," Maezawa said in the video. "The mission will take place two years from now, in 2023. I want people from all kinds of backgrounds to join." 

For those interested in applying to be one of those eight crewmembers, Maezawa didn't specify what qualifications are necessary to be selected. They are allowing people to pre-register for the contest until March 14 at 9:59 EST (0259 March 15 GMT). After that, the website states that "everyone who pre-registers will receive an email about the selection process."

Pre-registration will be followed by an initial screening (which will happen by March 21), an online interview and a final interview and medical screening, which the website states will take place by late May of this year. 

This call for crewmembers comes as other civilian space missions also garner attention and applicants. For example, people all over the world have applied to Inspiration4, a contest looking to fly a civilian mission to space while raising money for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. 

Email Chelsea Gohd at cgohd@space.com or follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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Chelsea Gohd

Chelsea Gohd joined Space.com as an intern in the summer of 2018 and returned as a Staff Writer in 2019. After receiving a B.S. in Public Health, she worked as a science communicator at the American Museum of Natural History and even wrote an installation for the museum's permanent Hall of Meteorites. Chelsea has written for publications including Scientific American, Discover Magazine Blog, Astronomy Magazine, Live Science, All That is Interesting, AMNH Microbe Mondays blog, The Daily Targum and Roaring Earth. When not writing, reading or following the latest space and science discoveries, Chelsea is writing music and performing as her alter ego Foxanne (@foxannemusic). You can follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd.