Japanese Billionaire Books First Moonshot Aboard SpaceX's 'Big Falcon Rocket'

But he won't be alone on the journey; the billionaire is also inviting six to eight artists to join him on his historic flight slated for 2023. He will ask them to create works based on their experience as part of a project called #dearMoon.

It wasn't revealed how much Maezawa paid for the flight, but Musk did announce that the businessman approached him about the flight.

The BFR is central to SpaceX's plans of eventually putting people on Mars for the first time, but first of all, they need to prove that the thing actually works.

According to the New York Times, Maezawa "may be best known" for his $US110 ($154) million purchase of a 1982 Jean-Michel Basquiat painting of a skull, a sum that his sister Lisane Basquiat referred to as leaving the family "speechless".

"I hope that this project will inspire the dreamer within each of us". He also praised Maezawa for his courage in undertaking the expedition in the first place, and warned that it won't happen if the technology isn't deemed safe.

While most of us may not have the funds to take a trip to the moon for our next holiday, however, if one day it becomes affordable, we would need to know what to pack.

The launch relies on a rocket yet to be built and Mr Musk himself said it was not "100% certain we can bring this to flight".

In a tweet last night, SpaceX wrote: "SpaceX has signed the world's first private passenger to fly around the Moon aboard our BFR launch vehicle". He was the lunar pilot on the Apollo 7 mission.

A total of 24 NASA astronauts - all white men - voyaged to the Moon during the Apollo era of the 1960s and '70s.

NASA is shooting for its own flyby of the moon, with a crew, around 2023. The space agency also aims to build a staffed gateway near the moon during the 2020s. Twelve walked on the lunar surface. He bought an entire spaceship, and he intends to people it with 6-8 artists from different countries and representing different styles of art.

An off-the-cuff tweet also left investors reeling after Musk said he planned to take Tesla, his electric auto company, private.

Shortly after his successful Falcon Heavy Launch, Musk said he expected a "full-scale test" of the massive rocket within the next few years.

Could there be more than one billionaire aboard SpaceX's upcoming lunar fly-around mission?

Virgin Galactic, founded by British tycoon Richard Branson, and billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos's rocket company Blue Origin, are working on trips to the edge of space that could offer tourists a chance at weightlessness for 10 minutes or so.

SpaceX already has a long list of firsts, with its sights ultimately set on Mars.

Musk's successes have recently been overshadowed by his behavior and the struggles of his Tesla electric auto company to deliver.

Musk gave some more detail about the BFR on Monday.

Going to the Moon could be far quicker.

SpaceX has already upended the space industry with its relatively low-priced reusable Falcon 9 rockets. "This is not us choosing him".

  • Carolyn Briggs