Billionaire bringing guests to the moon

Saul Franklin
September 21, 2018

SpaceX co-founder Elon Musk may accompany the Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, the first passenger SpaceX considers to fly around the moon.

Meazawa said he plans to bring between six and eight artists along with him-the idea being that they'll be inspired to share the trip with people on Earth in ways the less-artistic among us never could.

The mission will use SpaceX's BFR spacecraft - short for Big Falcon Rocket - essentially a massive booster rocket with a detachable spaceship attached.

"One day, when I was staring at his painting, I thought, what if Basquiat had gone to space, and had seen the moon up close, or saw Earth in full view".

On plans to send "space tourists" to the moon SpaceX said in early 2017. "There are far more renowned artists than I am", Markowsky said.

According to the New York Times, Maezawa "may be best known" for his $110 million (£83 million) purchase of a 1982 Jean-Michel Basquiat painting of a skull, a sum that his sister Lisane Basquiat referred to as leaving the family "speechless". Maezawa says he has often wondered what Basquiat might have drawn if he had traveled into space.

"I love art. And I'm very much looking forward to seeing what different artists getting together could bring to life", he said.

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has made a name for himself as a rock musician, an online fashion mogul and, now, Earth's first moon tourist.

Musk said the BFR is still in development and will make several unmanned test launches before it takes on passengers. Musk would not say what the trip would cost, but did say that the design of the almost 400-foot tall rocket had evolved recently, with the first flights to orbit coming in two to three years.

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The moon mission won't be as unsafe as a trip to the Red Planet, but there will still be considerable risk involved.

Maezawa and whoever flies with him will join an exclusive club - only two dozen astronauts have ever visited the moon, and no one has been to the moon since the last Apollo mission in 1972. Nevertheless, the company is working on it. SpaceX has been revising its Dragon cargo capsule to carry crew to and from the International Space Station with the help of NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

NASA is planning its own lunar flyby with a crew around 2023.

In 2016 he sold $250 million worth of stock so he could buy more art. He hasn't said who they might be or how much he is paying for the trip.

The company noted that the trip will last about a week.

SpaceX already has a long list of firsts, with its sights ultimately set on Mars.

In the past few months, Musk has lashed out at analysts during an earnings call for Tesla, his electric auto company, for asking "boring, bonehead questions".

Two high-level executives announced departures from Tesla, and the diver sued Musk on Monday. And last month he tweeted that his new jet's interior is being fashioned by luxury label Hermes. The device wasn't used and in the interview, Unsworth called it a "PR stunt" and said it wouldn't have worked to free the boys who were trapped in the flooded cave.

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