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LATEST MAGAZINE - Profiles - September 18, 2018

Japanese billionaire revealed as SpaceX’s first Moon traveller

Japanese billionaire and online fashion tycoon, Maezawa, 42, will be the first man to fly on a monster SpaceX rocket around the Moon as early as 2023, becoming the first lunar traveller since the last US Apollo mission in 1972.

Maezawa is chief executive of Japan’s largest online fashion mall, and is the 18th richest person in Japan with a fortune of $3bn.

“Ever since I was a kid, I have loved the Moon,” Maezawa said at SpaceX headquarters and rocket factory in Hawthorne, California, in the middle of metropolitan Los Angeles, late on Monday.

“This is my lifelong dream.”

Maezawa also said that his love of art led him to decide to invite artists to come along, he said.

“I would like to invite six to eight artists from around the world to join me on this mission to the Moon,” Maezawa said.

“They will be asked to create something after they return to Earth. These masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us.”

Maezawa said he planned to pick “artists I love” to go along, but gave no further specifics.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk described Maezawa as the “bravest” and “best adventurer”.

“He stepped forward,” Musk added. “We are honoured that he chose us.”

Musk said he would not reveal the price Maezawa paid for the Moon trip but said it would be “free for the artists”.

When asked by reporters if Musk would be a passenger, he left the door open to the possibility.

“As far as me going, I’m not sure. He did suggest like maybe that I would join on this trip. I don’t know,” Musk said.

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