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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" (opens in new tab)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 (opens in new tab), is now looking for eight crewmembers to fly to and around the moon and back on SpaceX's (opens in new tab) Starship spacecraft. 

The project was announced in 2018 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab)

Related: How SpaceX's lunar flight with Yusaku Maezawa will work (opens in new tab)

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In the video announcing this call for civilian astronauts, which features heavy rock music and footage of SpaceX's Starship (opens in new tab) lifting off, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab), 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
Senior Writer

Chelsea “Foxanne” Gohd joined Space.com in 2018 and is now a Senior Writer, writing about everything from climate change to planetary science and human spaceflight in both articles and on-camera in videos. With a degree in Public Health and biological sciences, Chelsea has written and worked for institutions including the American Museum of Natural History, Scientific American, Discover Magazine Blog, Astronomy Magazine and Live Science. When not writing, editing or filming something space-y, Chelsea "Foxanne" Gohd is writing music and performing as Foxanne, even launching a song to space in 2021 with Inspiration4. You can follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd and @foxannemusic.