A Japanese fashion magnate and art curator, Yusaku Maezawa, is going to become the first private passenger on a trip around the moon – and it’s going to be incredible, because he will not be going alone.
“Ever since I was a kid, I have loved the moon,” the billionaire entrepreneur said during a press conference held at SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California. “This is my lifelong dream.”
The 42-year-old founder of Japan’s largest online clothing retailer Zozotown has a net worth of $2.9 billion. In 2016, he paid more than $110 million at an auction for Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1982 painting called “Untitled.”
“Why do I want to go to the moon,” Maezawa continued. “This is very meaningful. I thought long and hard about this, and at the same time I thought about how I can give back to the world.”
Although SpaceX CEO Elon Musk didn’t say how much the businessman had paid for the trip into the deep space aboard the company’s still-in-development Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), which is expected to be roughly the height of a 35-story building, he did say Maezawa’s deposit for the trip was “significant.”
“He’s paying a lot of money that would help with the ship and its booster,” Musk told the crowd. “He’s ultimately paying for the average citizen to travel to other planets.”
Maezawa’s undisclosed payment will reportedly play a huge part in financing the development of BFR, which is estimated to cost around $5 billion.
“It makes a difference,” Musk added. “He puts his money where his mouth is. He’s legit.”
However, what’s even more exciting is that Maezawa will be taking a group of artists – including painters, musicians, film directors and more – with him on the voyage. Moreover, none of them will have to pay anything for the trip as the Japanese executive has already brought all the seats on BFR.
Between six and eight artists will join the expedition called Dear Moon, which is currently planned for 2023.
“I would like to invite six to eight artists from around the world to join me on this mission to the Moon. These artists will be asked to create something after they return to Earth, and these masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us,” Maezawa added. “What if Picasso had gone to the Moon? Or Andy Warhol or Michael Jackson or John Lennon? What about Coco Chanel? These are all artists that I adore.”
It’s unclear what kind of training Maezawa will go through before touring the moon. It’s also not clear if Musk will accompany the billionaire and the group of artists on the trip.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: David Mcnew/AFP/Getty Images