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Fly me to the moon? Elon Musk plans to launch Japanese billionaire collector Yusaku Maezawa and eight artists into space

SpaceX, the space travel company led by the tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, has announced plans to launch the Japanese billionaire art collector and fashion magnate Yusaku Maezawa and a team of artists into space for a project called #dearMoon. The enterprise would be the first time humans travelled around the moon since the final Apollo mission in 1972. Maezawa, who has been named the "host curator" of the project, put down “a lot of money” according to Musk to secure all ten seats on the Big Falcon Rocket, a spaceship that SpaceX has been developing since 2012 to explore and colonise other planets. In a livestreamed conference held last night (17 September) in the SpaceX factory in California, Maezawa, who made headlines last year for acquiring Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled (1983) for $110.5m at Sotheby’s and was wearing a Comme des Garçons t-shirt with a portrait of the artist, mused: “What if Basquiat had gone to space and seen the moon up close? What wonderful masterpieces would he have created? Just thinking about it now gets my heart racing”. The collector plans to bring six to eight artists—which could include painters, sculptors, film directors, architects and fashion designers—along on the ride and they will be asked to make a new work based on the experience when they return to Earth. “Those masterpieces will inspire the dreamer in all of us,” Maezawa adds.