A Japanese Billionaire Art Collector Is the Star Passenger For SpaceX's Upcoming Moon Trip

Tuesday, 18 September 2018 - 11:50AM
SpaceX
Tuesday, 18 September 2018 - 11:50AM
A Japanese Billionaire Art Collector Is the Star Passenger For SpaceX's Upcoming Moon Trip
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Image Credit: SpaceX/Pixabay
As we get closer to the idea of space tourism becoming a reality, the one constant question has been: "Who is rich enough to afford this?" We know that guys like Richard Branson and Elon Musk have the coin to make the trip, but to make the launches worth it, they need a few extra supporters to split the bill. Musk announced last night that Yusaku Maezawa, the billionaire founder of the Japanese company Zozo, will be one of the first private citizens to take a trip around the moon aboard SpaceX's BFR spaceship-rocket combo in 2023.

The announcement was made with Maezawa during a one hour and 44 minute webcast from SpaceX's facilities in Hawthorne, California. According to Forbes, the 42-year-old businessman is the 18th richest person in Japan with an estimated new worth of $2.9 billion. "Ever since I was a kid, I have loved the moon," Maezawa said during the announcement. "Just staring at the moon fueled my imagination; it's always there and has continued to inspire humanity. That is why I do not pass up this opportunity to see the moon up close." The rocket that will take Maezawa to his crater-faced love is not finished yet, and according to Elon Musk it will cost between $2 billion and $10 billion to complete. According to The New York Times, neither Musk or Maezawa would reveal how much he is paying for the opportunity, but he did say that he wants to take some friends along for the ride.

In addition to running a business and loving the moon, Maezawa is an art collector, so naturally he wants to take artists with him on the historic voyage. In a project called Dear Moon, he explains that he would like five to eight creatives by his side in space. "If Pablo Picasso had been able to see the moon up-close, what kind of paintings would he have drawn?," the wealthy curator asks on the project website. "If John Lennon could have seen the curvature of the Earth, what kind of songs would he have written? If they had gone to space, how would the world have looked today?" The artists chosen have not yet been announced.

"This is no walk in the park," Elon Musk said of the upcoming launch and the work required to get there. "When you're pushing the frontier, it's not a sure thing." Maezawa offered Musk a place aboard the flight as well, but he chose to RSVP as a maybe.

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