Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has booked a trip to the moon and back with SpaceX and is now looking for a female companion.
Maezawa, 44, hopes to share the voyage with the woman he loves.
This being Japan, he’s launched a contest to find that special gal. Being Japan, that quest will of course be turned into a TV documentary. Quite how that will work hasn’t been made clear and it may morph into another of the country’s excruciating game shows.
Last September, SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk announced that Maezawa would be the first paying tourist to be flown around the moon on the SpaceX Big Falcon Rocket.
Musk did not say how much Maezawa will shell out but it’s surely many millions, potentially hundreds of millions. The mission is tentatively planned for 2023.
Maezawa can well afford it. He founded the online Japanese fashion retailer Zozo and is reportedly worth around US$3 billion.
His venture would continue the pattern of space tourism being just for the seriously rich, though that will surely change.
So far only US firm Space Adventures, founded 1998, has actually sent paying passengers to space – seven of them, one twice, all aboard Russian missions.
None have occurred since 2009. The last space tourist – the industry prefers the term ‘personal spaceflight’ – was Canadian businessman Guy Laliberte.
Space Adventures is still advertising future moon flights for those who have done everything there is to do on Earth and happen to have a spare US$150 million.
Maezawa revealed his desire to travel around the moon with a companion on the contest website headed Full Moon Lovers and which outlines entry criteria.
Applicants must be single women aged 20 or over, with a bright personality and always positive, interested in going into space and able to participate in the preparations, wanting to enjoy life to the fullest and be “someone who wishes for world peace”. It doesn’t specify any particular nationality.
Applications close on 17 January (10am JST), with selection starting on 25-26 January, matchmaking dates with Maezawa in mid-February, special getting to know you dates in mid-March and final decision at the end of March.
On the website, Maezawa declares his desire to meet someone amazing.
“When I got the offer to go on this program, I was first taken over by emotions of embarrassment and pride, and I thought about refusing the offer. The more I thought about it, however, I started to think a chance like this might not come around again,” he said.
“I started to think that this was a good chance to seriously face up to the idea of 'continuing to love one woman', which I'd only really had a hazy image about. I made my decision and finally decided to go on the program. I want to find a 'life partner'. With that future partner of mine, I want to shout our love and world peace from outer space.”
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