In front of a large gathering of the world's media, Elon Musk announced that SpaceX has signed up the world's first private passenger to fly around the Moon.
In a project entitled, #DearMoon, Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa will not only be the first private passenger to fly around the Moon, he also intends to take a group of artists with him (specifically, a painter, musician, film director, fashion designer…). Mr Maezawa, already a renowned art collector, intends to take some of the world's greatest talents so that they can 'be inspired in a way they have never been before.'
Making Space Tourism History
Whilst Mr Maezawa won't be setting foot on the Moon, the magnitude of the event shouldn't be underestimated. If the mission does go ahead as planned (currently envisioned to be in 2023), he will be making space tourism history. Although the cost of the roundtrip, aboard one of SpaceX's Starships, hasn't been disclosed it will certainly run to tens of millions of dollars (if not over $100m). Known as a significant player in the international art market, the cost is unlikely to trouble Mr Maezawa and even though the price of the trip will be beyond the means of almost everyone on Earth, the publicity will certainly be valuable for the other companies participating in the more 'affordable' end of the space tourism industry.