In a press conference on Monday, the identity of the first lunar tourist was unveiled as Japanese fashion billionaire Yusaku Maezawa. Known in the U.S. as the art collector who bought Jean-Michel Basquiat's record-breaking $110.5 million painting in 2017, Maezawa is planning to make his space flight into an arts initiative aboard Elon Musk's newest SpaceX rocket.
“I choose to go the moon, with artists,” Maezawa quipped on Twitter.
“What if Basquiat had gone to space? What wonderful masterpiece would he have created?” said Maezawa of his so-called "Dear Moon" art project.
According to his "Dear Moon" website, Maezawa will invite 6 to 8 creative types, such as dancers, painters, film directors and others, as part of the first journey of private citizens around the moon, taking about one week together, and then returning for a possible joint exhibition.
Musk is developing a new rocket for the voyage, with an estimated cost of $2 billion to $8 billion, called the B.F.R. (possibly for Big Falcon Rocket).
“I hope that this project will inspire the dreamer within each of us,” said Maezawa.
The price of the trip was not disclosed. The New York Times pins the customer cost at tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, for the historic moon flight. The rocket could be ready in 2023, according to Musk.