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Yusaku Maezawa in BFR
Yusaku Maezawa standing in what has been built so far of the BFR@yousuck2020 via Twitter

A skateboarding, art collecting billionaire will be the first Moon tourist

Elon Musk has announced his first passenger for SpaceX’s lunar mission, Yusaku Maezawa

The identity of the traveller on Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) was revealed by Elon Musk at a press conference in California on Monday night – Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa will be the first-ever tourist on the moon. 

Maezawa introduced himself to the crowd of journalists at Musk’s press conference as a “skateboarder, drummer, and an entrepreneur”. He owns the largest online fashion company in Japan, Zozotown, and his net worth is estimated at three billion dollars.

The 42-year-old is also a dedicated art collector – Maezawa made headlines when he bought Jean-Michel Basquiat’s iconic “Untitled” (1982) for $110.5 million in March 2017.

Maezawa is due to orbit around the moon and back in the BFR as early as 2023 – he will become the first non-American to fly around the moon, and he will also not be alone. Maezawa plans to invite a variety of his favourite living artists to join him on the ride.

Describing himself as the ‘Host Curator’ of his intergalactic venture which he is naming ‘Dear Moon’, Maezawa in a video at the press conference outlined nine different artistic categories; painter, dancer, musician, fashion designer, sculptor, film director, architect, novelist, and photographer.

“I choose to go to the Moon, with artists. If Pablo Picasso had been able to see the moon up-close, what kind of paintings would he have drawn? 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?” writes Maezawa. “Together with Earth's top artists, I will be heading to the moon... just a little earlier than everyone else.”

Maezawa hopes after the week-long journey that the artists will create work based on their experience in space. 

SpaceX has not disclosed the amount Maezawa paid towards the mission, Musk would only comment that the donation has made a “material impact” on BFR’s construction. The company aims to test the rocket at the end of next year but even Musk is unsure SpaceX will meet the proposed launch date in 2023, “We’re definitely not sure (about 2023)" Musk continues “You have set some sort of ‘if things go right date’. Then we have reality, and things do not go right in reality.”