Japanese billionaire revealed as SpaceX's first Moon traveller

What you need to know about the first tourist that SpaceX is taking around the moon

Japanese billionaire to be sent to moon by SpaceX says he'll bring along architects and other artists

Markowsky, who teaches drawing at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, responded to Monday's announcement by Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese billionaire clothing retailer, that he was paying Elon Musk's SpaceX an undisclosed amount to be the first tourist to circle the moon.

That original mission would have used a Falcon Heavy rocket - the most powerful rocket flying today - and a Dragon crew capsule similar to the one NASA astronauts will use to fly to the International Space Station as early as next year.

Now the Elon Musk show returned to the sprawling SpaceX headquarters outside Los Angeles, where the company will - whether intentionally or not - provide a prime-time diversion to the troubles surrounding its celebrity chief executive by providing details about its long-anticipated moon shot.

Maezawa said the accompanying artists, including painters, photographers, musicians, film directors, fashion designers and architects, "will inspire the dreamer within all of us".

Musk said the money spent on the trip will help to fund the BFR's development, with the goal of one day opening up space travel to the average person.

SpaceX revealed Monday that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa will be its first space tourist. Forbes reports that his net worth is $2.9 billion, though the tycoon had humble beginnings in business, starting by selling CDs and records when he was younger.

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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. If all had gone according to schedule, SpaceX would now be gearing up for its first lunar flight, fulfilling its pledge early previous year to launch a pair of tourists "faster and farther into the solar system than any before them".

"Ever since I was a kid, I have loved the moon", he said. But, he said he's already made a substantial down payment on the flight, and that the cost will significantly offset the cost to SpaceX to make it happen. He will be the first lunar traveler since the last US Apollo mission in 1972. "Yeah, maybe we will both be on it".

The space agency is planning its own lunar flyby with a crew around 2023.

"He is the bravest person and the most willing to do so, and he was the best adventurer I think", Musk said of Maezawa. He is also known for having dropped $110 million on a painting by the American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat a year ago at a Sotheby's auction. He said then that two people who know each other approached the company about a weeklong flight to the moon and back.

He made headlines in 2016 when he paid more than $57 million at auction for an untitled work by Basquiat. Yusaku, however, declined to reveal the figures that he paid for the flight, but the trip will be free-of-cost for the artists that go with him. But as he rode the train for an hour and a half every morning from his home in Japan's Chiba prefecture, he told the Times in London he started noticing how all the people headed to their jobs appeared to be "tired and unhappy".

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