Yusaku Maezawa, the 42-year-old billionaire founder of Japan's colossal online fashion mall, Zozotown, will fly around the moon on a mission that will take four or five days in total, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced on Monday.
SpaceX will send its first passenger around the moon in a Big Falcon Rocket (seen here in its original form). But he won't be alone on the journey; the billionaire is also inviting six to eight artists to join him on his historic flight slated for 2023.
He will be the first person to travel to the moon since the United States' Apollo missions ended in 1972.
During Monday night's announcement, Musk said the whole objective of SpaceX is to "help advance rocket technology to the point where we could potentially become a multi-planet species", and to "extend life beyond Earth and do so as quickly as we can". "These artists will be asked to create something after they return to Earth, and these masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us", Maezawa added. Maezawa has not revealed the price of his trip, but Musk said it was "a lot of money".
"I choose to go to the moon!" said the 42-year-old Maezawa, who founded Japan's largest online fashion mall and is worth nearly $3 billion.
The last time astronauts orbited-not landed-on the moon was during the Apollo 13 mission in 1970.
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The 32-year-old supermodel and TV personality dazzled on the red carpet in a silver Zuhair Murad gown. After all, the model, mother, host, advocate, and author has encouraged the incorrect pronunciation.
"Lasting about a week, the journey will come as close as 125 miles to the Moon's surface before completing lunar transit and returning back to Earth", SpaceX said.
Musk said the two wannabe spacefarers had paid a deposit for their now-abandoned 2018 Moon trip.
NASA is planning its own lunar flyby with a crew around 2023.
Prior to Monday's announcement, Musk last publicly described the BFR and showed renderings of the system at the 2017 International Aeronautical Congress. Moreover, none of them will have to pay anything for the trip as the Japanese executive has already brought all the seats on BFR. "If things go well, we could be doing the first orbital flights in about two to three years", he said, with "many" such test flights planned with crews before humans fly on the vehicle.
Shares in Tesla have had a turbulent time after the entrepreneur said in a tweet last month that he wanted to take the carmaker private.
Earlier in the day, Musk was sued for defamation by the British driver he had accused of being a "child rapist" and pedophile via tweets and emails to media.