Japanese Businessman to Be the First SpaceX Moon Tourist

SpaceX has revealed who the first passenger on its maiden trip to the Moon will be — billionaire Yusaku Maezawa from Japan. (Image:  SpaceX /  CC0 1.0)
SpaceX has revealed who the first passenger on its maiden trip to the Moon will be — billionaire Yusaku Maezawa from Japan. (Image: SpaceX / CC0 1.0)

SpaceX has revealed who the first passenger on its maiden trip to the moon will be — billionaire Yusaku Maezawa from Japan. And the 42-year-old businessman won’t be traveling alone. In fact, Maezawa intends to turn his moon trip into an art project.

The first passenger

The announcement was made by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. Maezawa is the founder of Japan’s biggest online clothing retailer Zozotown and has an estimated net worth of about US$2.9 billion. Interestingly, Maezawa has booked all the seats on the maiden flight to the Moon. Why? Because he wants to go to the Moon with artists who will work to make the trip a historic art project.

“I would like to invite six to eight artists from around the world to join me on this mission to the Moon… These artists will be asked to create something after they return to Earth, and these masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us,” The Verge quotes the billionaire.

Maezawa is the founder of Japan’s biggest online clothing retailer Zozotown and has an estimated net worth of about US$2.9 billion. (Image: SpaceX / CC0 1.0)

Nicknamed “#dearMoon,” a website that details the art project was launched immediately after the announcement. The businessman intends to take artists from diverse fields like painters, film directors, musicians, etc. on the proposed trip.

“People are creative and have a great imagination. We all have the ability to dream dreams that have never been dreamt, to sing songs that have never been sung, to paint that which has never been seen before. I hope that this project will inspire the dreamer within each of us,” Maezawa said on the project website.

The rocket for the moon trip is yet to be built. And as per the schedule set by SpaceX, Maezawa and his team of artists should fly to the moon for a week-long trip sometime in 2023.

A history of failed attempts

While revealing the name of Maezawa during the announcement, Musk had said: “The purpose of SpaceX, the reason for creating SpaceX, was to accelerate the advent of humanity, becoming a spacefaring civilization, to help advance rocket technology to a point where we could potentially become a multiplanet species and a true spacefaring civilization,” The Atlantic quotes.

However, such grand announcements about space exploration by private firms are nothing new. Many space companies had made such declarations in the past, only to fail eventually. Even Musk himself had announced in 2017 that SpaceX would be sending people to the moon by the end of 2018.

A new space-inspired art project #dearMoon hosted by the Japanese entrepreneur, Yusaku Maezawa:

But the company has decided to scrap the plan and focus on developing a new rocket for the 2023 trip. As such, space exploration enthusiasts are keeping their expectations in check, hoping that the Moon trip will succeed at least this time.

Other companies that announced space trips in the past and failed to see their plans through include Space Adventures and Golden Spike. While Space Adventures had promised to take passengers to the International Space Station by 2014, Golden Spike declared that it would send tourists to the Moon. Neither company has yet fulfilled their promises.

Another company, Bigelow Aerospace, has already announced that it would establish a space station around the Moon by the year 2023. And considering that Musk is also targeting the same year to send the first batch of tourists for a trip to the Earth’s satellite, it would be interesting to see who will claim the glory of being the first private company to send people near the Moon.

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