SpaceX to send Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa on journey around the moon

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket

SpaceX didn't provide many details about the announcement, including whether the passenger will be there in person when Musk makes the announcement Monday from the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California.

Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa speaks about his moon mission through SpaceX. With SpaceX, he's described his mission as nothing short of making humans a multi-planetary species.

Our correspondent, Mary MacCarthy, joins us from Los Angeles.

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". Musk estimated the BFR development will cost around $5 billion.

Not since the Apollo mission of 1972 has man come close to the surface of the moon but this could soon be about to change if Elon Musk has his way.

Maezawa will ride aboard SpaceX's enormous, reusable Big Falcon Rocket or "Big F-- Rocket" launcher, which Mr Musk hopes will eventually ferry the first human colonists to Mars. Although its Falcon Heavy rocket was set to fly in 2013, the first, and only flight, of the heavy lifter happened some five years later, and lobbed Musk's Tesla Roadster into space to puzzle future extraterrestrial visitors. "I wish to create awesome works of art for humankind, for children of the next generation", he said. The trip was set to take place toward the end of this year, but was scrapped when SpaceX chose to switch the plan from its Falcon Heavy rocket to the more powerful BFR. While the trip to the moon is, in and of itself, a fairly bold undertaking, realistically it's just the first step towards Musk's ultimate goal of being the person that facilitated humanity's move to living on two separate planets. "In order to minimize the development risk and cost, we made a decision to "commonize" the engine between the booster and ship", Musk said, adding that Raptor engines that are optimized for vacuum conditions could be added back in later.

Those who have signed up to fly on Virgin Galactic sub-orbital missions include actor Leonardo DiCaprio and pop star Justin Bieber.

The BFR will be constructed at a SpaceX facility in Los Angeles and is being created to handle everything from missions to Earth orbit to long-term cargo and crew missions to Mars.

SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk outlined a somewhat different mission a year ago.

'When you are pushing the frontier, it is not a sure thing. Musk has said he wants it to be able to carry a payload of 100 people into space, and/or the hardware to keep them alive once they get there.

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