#SpaceRaceAgain: This Japanese Billionaire Will Be The First Tourist To Go To The Moon

The entire trip is expected to cost around $5 billion

The last time humans went to the Moon was in 1972. And now, almost 50 years later, Elon Musk is going to send humans again to go around the Moon. At a press conference on September 17, the business magnate announced the name of the tourist who is rich enough to afford the journey to the Moon and back — Yusaku Maezawa.

Yusaku Maezawa is a Japanese billionaire who founded an online clothing company called Zozo.  It is Japan’s largest online clothing company. A popular figure in Japan, Maezawa is known for his collection of foreign and Japanese art and fast cars. He is also known to have paid a record $110 million for a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat. Though he did not say how much he would pay for the trip that is expected to cost around $5 billion, the pre-payment will be “significantly more” than the cost of the painting.

And Maezawa is not going on the week-long trip to Moon alone. He plans to invite six to eight artists, architects, designers and other creative people to join him so that they “create work to reflect their experience”.

The tourists will travel on SpaceX’s largest rocket, Big Falcon Rocket or BFR. It’s a reusable rocket which is scheduled to make its first solo trip to Mars in 2022. Elon Musk also hopes that the rocket would eventually ferry the first human colonists to Mars.

Though many, including Musk himself, is not sure whether they would be able to take Maezawa around the Moon in time. The SpaceX CEO said in a press conference:

“It’s not 100 percent certain we can bring this to flight.”

Although, the future passenger told Reuters that he was more confident about SpaceX pulling off this feat:

“SpaceX is going to be doing many, many test flights to ensure safety and we will wait for that to happen before we go.”

SpaceX is not the only player in space tourism. Jeff Bezos-owned Blue Origin is also planning such short sightseeing trips to space which are likely to cost around $200,000 to $300,000. A 90-minute Virgin Galactic flight that would transport celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Justin Beiber would cost $250,000.