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Billionaire quits moonshot matchmaking TV show

Yusaku Maezawa
Japanese billionaire space enthusiast Yusaku Maezawa has broken up with AbemaTV, which was working on a reality-TV dating show focusing on his planned trip around the moon. (Yusaku Maezawa via Twitter)

It’s not you, it’s me: That’s basically what Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa is saying about his decision to end participation in a reality-TV matchmaking show that would have traced the selection of a woman contestant to accompany him on a trip around the moon.

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Reality-TV dating game offers moon trip as prize

Yusaku Maezawa
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa tweeted a casting call for a woman to go on a round-the-moon trip with him, for a streaming-video documentary. (Yusaku Maezawa via Twitter)

What do you get when you cross “The Bachelor” with “Survivor,” and then throw in a round-the-moon trip? You might get the reality-TV project that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has signed on for.

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Artists vie for a free trip around the moon

Violinist in zero-G
An artist’s conception shows a violinist in zero-G on SpaceX’s BFR spaceship. (SpaceX via Twitter)

It’s been only a day since SpaceX CEO Elon Musk unveiled the plan to send Yusaku Maezawa and roughly half a dozen artists around the moon, but folks are already nominating themselves (and others) for a free trip.

Maezawa is paying an undisclosed but reportedly substantial amount for the journey on SpaceX’s yet-to-be-built BFR spaceship, and there are scads of details to be worked out before the launch date, which is currently set for 2023.

In a series of tweets today, Musk promised that the mission would be live-streamed in high-definition virtual reality, with the broadcast potentially facilitated by SpaceX’s yet-to-be-deployed Starlink satellite internet constellation. There could also be an onboard watering hole called the “Space Bar,” and the artists on the flight would be permitted (but not obliged) to perform in zero-G.

Musk promised to take questions during a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” chat that’s yet to be scheduled. “Love Reddit,” he said in a tweet.

One of the more interesting questions has to do with who will be selected for Maezawa’s Willy Wonka-style golden tickets.

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Japanese billionaire signs up for SpaceX moon trip

Maezawa and Musk
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk strike a pose at SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. (Yusaku Maezawa via Twitter)

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk today introduced Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa as the first paying customer for a trip around the moon.

“Finally I can tell you that ‘I choose to go to the moon,’” Maezawa said, echoing President John F. Kennedy’s famous phrase.

Maezawa, 42, founded a mail-order retail business called Start Today in 1998, which spawned what’s now Japan’s largest fashion retail website, known as Zozotown. His net worth is estimated at more than $3 billion.

He’s made a name for himself as a musician and art collector as well as an entrepreneur. During tonight’s big reveal at SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., Maezawa said he intended to invite six to eight artists from around the world, on the level of the late Pablo Picasso or Michael Jackson, to go around the moon with him.

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