Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa stood before the audience gathered at SpaceX headquarters Monday evening and was greeted by cheers when he echoed a line from a famous speech by President John F. Kennedy, proclaiming "I choose to go to the moon".
He said he would invite six to eight artists - sculptors, painters, architects and film directors - from across the globe to fly with him on a week-long trip in 2023 that he said would lead to the production of art "to inspire the dreamer in all of us".
Entrepreneur Elon Musk's space launch company said last week that the person will fly to the moon aboard a new rocket called the BFR, which is still in development.
Musk said the BFR is still in development and would make several unmanned test launches before it takes on passengers.
"I thought, what if Basquiat had gone to space and had seen the moon up close or saw the earth in full view?" he said.
Musk has previously said he wants the rocket to be ready for an unpiloted trip to Mars in 2022, with a crewed flight in 2024, though his ambitious production targets have been known to slip.
Maezawa and whoever flies with him will join an exclusive club - only two dozen astronauts have ever visited the moon, and no one has been to the moon since the last Apollo mission in 1972.
SpaceX gave no details of the flight but said it would be "an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of traveling to space".
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In 2008, Markowsky formally announced that he wanted to paint on the surface of the moon by 2030.
NASA is planning its own lunar flyby with a crew around 2023. He paid $110.5 million for Basquiat's 1982 painting of a graffiti-like black and blue rendition of a human skull, a record price for an American artist, at a Sotheby's auction previous year.
"All right. Maybe we will both be on it", Musk said to cheers and applause.
It also aims to build a staffed gateway near the moon during the 2020s. The company's Space Dragon crew capsule, which is meant to take astronauts to the International Space Station, missed an initial target date of 2017 and won't see a manned test until 2019. He is an avid art collector, and in 2016 he spent $80 million on paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Pablo Picasso, two artists he cited as inspirations during Monday's event.
Musk, who is also the CEO of Tesla Motors, has drawn attention in recent months over his erratic behaviour.
The artists Maezawa plans to take on his voyage to the moon have not been named. But as he rode the train for an hour and a half every morning from his home in Japan's Chiba prefecture, he told the Times in London he started noticing how all the people headed to their jobs appeared to be "tired and unhappy".
Musk and SpaceX engineers built a small submarine and shipped it to Thailand to help with the rescue.