In Depth

SpaceX: why Yusaku Maezawa is taking eight artists on Elon Musk’s maiden Moon flight

Japanese fashion empire founder and his guests will be first lunar travellers since 1972

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has named Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa as the aerospace firm’s first paying passenger for its much-hyped Moon voyage. 

Maezawa, founder of clothing giant Zozo, is to travel aboard the company’s BFR - Big Falcon Rocket, or as Musk calls it, Big F***ing Rocket -  a “massive” and “reusable” craft that SpaceX hopes will take humans to Mars by 2030, The Daily Telegraph says. 

The week-long Moon mission is scheduled for 2023, with tests kicking off within the “two to three years”, the newspaper reports.

Announcing the news at a press conference in California last night, Musk did not reveal how much Maezawa is paying for his ticket but said that the Japanese entrepreneur had placed “a significant deposit on the price, which is a significant price”, The Sun reports. 

Maezawa has not only purchased a ticket for himself but also booked all eight of the other available places on the flight. He and his guests will become the first lunar travellers since Nasa’s Apollo 17 mission in 1972. 

The fashion tycoon says he intends to take along artists from around the world who will then create artworks based on the experience, to help “inspire the dreamer within each of us”.  

In a statement, Maezawa continued: “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?”

Will they be landing on the Moon?

No. Unlike the Apollo missions of the late 1960s and early 1970s, the SpaceX rocket will not be making a lunar landing.

Instead, Maezawa is to travel on what’s known as the “free return trajectory”, where the rocket slingshots around the Moon before heading back to Earth’s surface, the BBC reports. 

Sounding a note of caution, the broadcaster adds that BFR has yet to be built, with Musk admitting that the company is “not 100% certain we can bring this to flight”.

Recommended

Long Covid: the symptoms, the treatment and who is most at risk
A Covid patient is wheeled into hospital
Fact file

Long Covid: the symptoms, the treatment and who is most at risk

Fact check: does a pint a day really keep the doctor away?
binge drinking
In Depth

Fact check: does a pint a day really keep the doctor away?

Why under-40s will be offered alternative to Oxford vaccine
A medical worker draws up a dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine
Getting to grips with . . .

Why under-40s will be offered alternative to Oxford vaccine

Psychedelics, peacekeeping and office productivity
The effect of LSD on the brain
Podcast

Psychedelics, peacekeeping and office productivity

Popular articles

London mayoral race 2021: who will win?
Night Tube Sadiq Khan
In Depth

London mayoral race 2021: who will win?

UK elections: why the results matter and who is tipped to win
Boris Johnson in Hartlepool
Getting to grips with . . .

UK elections: why the results matter and who is tipped to win

Hartlepool by-election polls: all the runners and the favourite to win
Hartlepool by-election
Fact file

Hartlepool by-election polls: all the runners and the favourite to win