Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Hawthorne, CA, United States (4E) – Japanese online fashion billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, who once had his own rock band and is a staunch patron of the contemporary arts, will fly to the Moon by 2023 aboard SpaceX’s Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), along with up to eight persons of his choice.
Maezawa and his entourage will be the first paying commercial passengers of the SpaceX lunar tourism mission. They will circumnavigate the Moon aboard the “Big Falcon Spaceship (BFS),” the crew-carrying , upper-stage of the BFR. This circumlunar mission will take five days and 23 hours to complete.
Maezawa is worth almost $3 billion and is listed as the 18th richest person in Japan by Forbes. Modern art is one of Maezawa’s passions. He became world famous in the art world for his record-breaking $110 million purchase of an untitled 1982 Jean-Michel Basquiat painting. Maezawa owns a Bugatti Chiron sports car and the Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet SUV.
The diminutive Maezawa said he will take six to eight artists with him as a part of an art project he created called #dearMoon. Maezawa and his motley crew will be the first civilians — in this case, space tourists — to fly around the Moon. Maezawa’s voyage will be the first mission to the Moon since Apollo 17 in 1972.
Musk said Maezawa is “a very brave person to do this.”
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk named Maezawa, 42, at a special event Monday night. He didn’t mention how much Maezawa will pay for his out-of-this-world space tourism adventure, but did say the Japanese billionaire had paid a huge downpayment that will help build the BFR. Maezawa said he bought all the seats available on the BFS.
Maezawa said that for him, this project is very meaningful.” He revealed that ever since” he was a kid, he loved the Moon. He mused that just staring at the Moon filled his imagination. He also noted the Moon has continued to inspire humanity, “and that’s why I could not pass up this opportunity to see the Moon up close.”
Maezawa, however, admitted he didn’t want “such a fantastic experience” all by himself. He said this would be a little lonely, “so I want to share this experience with as many people as possible.”
Maezawa said he plans to take top musicians, fashion designers, painters, and other artists to the Moon with him – that is, if these people can pass the strenuous physical and mental tests required of astronauts. Maezawa hasn’t identified his travelling companions.
And there’s no reason to assume that everyone he invites will want to travel to the Moon. Space is, after all, a very dangerous place filled with unexpected dangers.
He would expect the artists that travel with him will use the experience as inspiration to create new art. The masterpieces that will be created by these fantastic experiences “will inspire the dreamer within all of us.”
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