Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa announced tonight (Sept. 17) that he has chosen to go to the moon in 2023 — and bring six to eight artists along for the ride.

During a news conference at SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California, company founder and CEO Elon Musk introduced Maezawa as the first passenger on the new BFR (sometimes short for “Big Falcon Rocket”) rocket-spaceship duo currently under construction, and confirmed that Maezawa would ride in a loop around the moon. And then Maezawa announced that, although he’d bought out the whole BFR, he doesn’t want to go alone.

“I thought long and hard about how valuable it would be to become the first private passenger to go to the moon,” Maezawa said. “At the same time, I thought about how I can give back to the world and how this can contribute to world peace – this is my lifelong dream.”

“I did not want to have such a fantastic experience by myself,” he added. “That would be a little lonely. I don’t like being alone, so I want to share these experiences and things with as many people as possible, so that is why I choose to go to the moon with artists!”

Maezawa announced a name for his new project, #dearMoon, and a website, dearMoon.earth, and said that, before the BFR’s launch in 2023, he would select six to eight artists to go with him to space. These people will hail from a variety of disciplines, potentially including painters, sculptors, photographers, musicians, film directors, fashion designers, architects and more, he said.

source: space.com