Maezawa is chief executive of Japan's largest online fashion mall, and is the 18th richest person in Japan with a fortune of $3 billion, according to the business magazine Forbes. (AP) The Japanese billionaire will fly to the moon aboard a new rocket called the BFR, which is still in development.
Maezawa has plenty of money to devote to this moon shot. Modern art is one of his passions, too, and in 2016 he spent around $80 million on paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Pablo Picasso.
He said during a press conference that he planned to take six to eight artists with him on the mission. The mission isn't scheduled to launch until 2023. These people will hail from a variety of disciplines, potentially including painters, sculptors, photographers, musicans, film directors, fashion designers, architects and more, he said. "And what will they create?"
Musk said he would not reveal the price Maezawa paid for the Moon trip, but said it would be 'free for the artists'. Musk estimated the total BFR system would cost around $5bn to develop, perhaps as much as $10bn and more than $2bn.
Musk outlined a somewhat different SpaceX lunar mission past year.
Musk touched on one of his favorite themes, a call for humanity to become a multi-planetary civilization, as he kicked off the announcement. He said about BFR, it's "making people excited about the future - about getting up in the morning".
Maezawa said he'll collaborate with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and the rest of the SpaceX crew to figure out suitable candidates for the Moon project. Falcon 9 is a prime example, although BFR is different in the sense that SpaceX has the luxury of starting from a slate that is far from blank.
The last time astronauts orbited-not landed-on the moon was during the Apollo 13 mission in 1970. The outpost would serve as a stepping-off point for the lunar surface, Mars and points beyond.
It's worth remembering that even a rocket beginning integrated systems tests - expected to commence with BFR as early as late 2019 - can end up looking and being nearly nothing like the vehicle that ultimately rolls off the assembly line and launches real missions.
The system will eventually replace the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, as well as the Dragon spacecraft.
BFR's Lunar mission details were shared by Musk.