Japanese businessman to become first private moon tourist

19 Septembre, 2018, 04:40 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • SpaceX BFR Mars

"Overall, I think it's a little ridiculous".

Elon Musk is now not the only one with a lot riding on this mission. He lives in Houston and has visited the SpaceX headquarters in California.

On Thursday, Musk tweeted a picture of a Japanese flag. "This will look really epic in person", Musk said.

Maezawa and Musk declined to say how much the lunar trip would cost. Everybody loves to explore, just like we do at Space Center Houston.

Back to the space trip - and this is where it gets interesting. Maezawa will fly on Space Exploration Technologies Corp.'s BFR rocket on the trip in 2023, Musk announced on Monday.

The mission is slated to launch as soon as 2023, though Musk said he can't be sure about that timeline yet. He added: "I choose to go to the Moon. with artists!" He is also big in Japan as a rock musician and, most recently, as a high-rolling art collector. A video presentation about him said he believes art can help usher in world peace. On board the vehicle will be Maezawa as well as six to eight artists he will select through a process yet to be determined. "Please say yes and accept my invitation!" His project is called Dear Moon and he clearly wants some big names.

Nevertheless, Musk said the Japanese billionaire actually chose his company for the Lunar mission, and not the other way around.

"He's a very courageous person to do this", Musk said of the Japanese entrepreneur. The company has grown from its origins as a mail-order music album business, and now makes most of its money through its shopping website Zozotown, which is popular with younger domestic consumers.

Maezawa's other hobby is amassing valuable works of modern art and previous year, he announced the acquisition of a Jean-Michel Basquiat masterpiece worth $110.5million.

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The company is still developing the BFR rocket, which will be the successor to SpaceX's oft-used Falcon 9 rocket and its upgraded version, the Falcon Heavy.

Falcon Heavy's maiden flight was shown as part of SpaceX's evolution towards BFR.

SpaceX chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell has said the BFR's first test flight should take place next year.

"There could be some natural or man made event that ends life as we know it", he said. "And it sounds insane but everything we've ever done has sounded insane to people, both people that love us and people that don't like us so much".

Musk has not revealed how much his "Lunar BFR Mission" will cost in the long run, but Maezawa surely won't have a hard time footing the bill. To date, the Saturn Vs are the only launch vehicles that have carried humans beyond low Earth orbit. Since then, NASA has relied on Russian Federation to ferry astronauts to the space station.

"It's not 100 percent certain that we succeed in getting this to flight [by 2023]", Musk said.

Of course, the craft is very far from completion and Musk has repeatedly set aspirational timelines for its development that never panned out, so this is all more or less conceptual. Taking the enormous personal risk of orbiting the moon as the first private citizen would cement him in history books.

SpaceX had previously announced in 2017 that two then-unnamed passengers had booked passage for a Lunar flyby in a Falcon Heavy rocket that was to launch in 2018. He was a billionaire by his mid-30s, making his fortune in online retailing. These artists will be asked to "see the moon up close and the Earth in full view, and create works that reflect their experience".

While bacteria and other microbes can survive space travel, infections are rare and there are fewer people to transmit the germs.

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