February 3, 2023

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and the 8 main crew members, whom Maezawa plans to take on a trip around the moon next year, as well as the 2 backup crew members, can be seen in this image of the handout issued on December 9 2022 has been released.  Project/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITOR - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.  MANDATORY CREDIT.  NO RESALE.  NO ARCHIVES

The choices were announced by Maezawa on Twitter and on the website for what he called the #dearMoon Project (Image: Reuters)

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa revealed with which eight crew members he wants to travel around the moon next year.

On Friday, Maezawa announced that K-pop star TOP and DJ Steve Aoki will be part of his crew on one of Elon Musk’s SpaceX rockets.

Maezawa bought every seat on the first lunar voyage, which has been in the works since 2018 and which last year would follow its journey on a Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) for a 12-day stint.

The picks were announced by Maezawa on Twitter and on the website for what he called the #dearMoon project.

The fashion magnate and his crew would become the first passengers on the SpaceX flyby from the moon, while commercial companies, including Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, usher in a new era of space travel for wealthy clients.

Rhiannon Adam, one of the 8 main crew members that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa plans to take a trip around the moon next year, can be seen in this image from the handout released December 9, 2022.  - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.  MANDATORY CREDIT.  NO RESALE.  NO ARCHIVES

Rhiannon Adam will be the first openly queer woman to go to space (Image: Reuters)

Among the crew is Rhiannon Adam, 37, a native of Cork and based in Hackney.

Adam defeated more than a million rivals to secure a spot on the first civilian voyage to the moon and is one of eight artists and creatives chosen by Japanese billionaire entrepreneur and art collector Yusaku Maezawa to be part of the journey.

Mission chiefs said Adam will be the first openly strange woman to go to space.

The journey, dubbed DearMoon, is expected to take place next year aboard Starship, a rocket being developed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

The mission aboard SpaceX’s Starship vehicle is expected to last eight days from launch to return to Earth, including three days around the moon, within 200 kilometers of the lunar surface.

(FILES) This file contains a photo taken on January 7, 2022. Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa attends a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan (FCCJ) in Tokyo.  - Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa announced on December 8, 2022 eight crew members who will join him on a trip around the moon scheduled for 2023 on a SpaceX rocket still under development.  (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP) (Photo by PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images)

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa revealed the eight crew members he plans to take on a trip around the moon next year (Photo: AFP)

Although the flight was scheduled for 2023, it is being delayed due to ongoing testing of the spacecraft and its rockets.

Like fellow billionaire Musk, Maezawa has a burst of promotion and an infatuation with Twitter, where he holds the Guinness world record for the most retweeted post when he offered a cash prize of 1 million yen (£5,955) to 100 winners for retweeting of it.

Maezawa used the microblogging site to recruit eight crew members from around the world to join him on the lunar journey, saying 1 million people signed up.

TOP, the stage name of Choi Seung Hyun who broke up with the K-pop group Big Bang, is one of the selected members with a higher profile, along with Aoki, a Japanese-American musician and DJ whose father founded the Benihana restaurant chain.

Indian actor Dev Joshi was also one of the favorites for the group, which largely consisted of artists and photographers. American Olympic snowboarder Kaitlyn Farrington and Japanese dancer Miyu were named as backup crew members.

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