The world now knows the mysterious passenger signed up to travel on SpaceX’s Big Falcon Rocket (BFR).
Japanese CEO and Entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa is the lucky passenger who will be the first person to trip to the moon.
"Finally, I can tell you that I choose to go to the moon," Maezawa said. "I'm very glad to be here and I'm really excited, honored and I appreciate that I can share this annoucnement with you and people all over the world."
Maezawa is the billionaire behind Zozo, one of Japan's most successful e-commerce websites and quickly becoming one of the world's most popular brands. In July, the company announced it would launch in the United States.
But why would Maezawa want to spend up to a week in space? What about the Moon seemed to promising to him?
"Ever since I was a kid, I've loved the moon," Maezawa said. "It's always there, and has continued to inspire humanity. That's why I do not pass up this opportunity to see the moon up close."
However, there's a catch. Maezawa doesn't plan on going alone.
The billionaire said he wondered what would've happened if famous artists, painters, creatives, and songwriters had experienced what he wanted to experience.
"What if Basquiat had gone to space? What wonderful masterpiece would he have created?" he mused. "Once I got started, I couldn't stop thinking of who else [could have been affected]."
"I didn't want to have such a fantastic experience by myself, he said. "I want to share this experience and these things with the artists."
Maezawa's project will be called Dear Moon. The CEO wants to invite between six to eight artists from various backgrounds and different places throughout the world up to the moon trip with him. The only catch is that they create something to honor their time aboard the BFR and for the moon trip.
"I thought about how this can contribute to the world and world peace, it's my lifelong dream," Maesawa said. "These masterpieces will continue to inspire all of us."
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. He also said he hasn't decided who will join him in 2023 for the launch.
Regardless of who SpaceX picked to travel to the moon on the BFR, the announcement today represented a massive step for space travel.
It’s one of the most critical steps in getting space tourism to become a viable industry. The announcement took place at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, and it came shortly after SpaceX surprised fans by confirming it had signed its first passenger to the BFR spacecraft.
The whole trajectory of the trip, according to Musk, should take four to five days. However, the SpaceX CEO assured the crowd there would be extensive testing prior to launching BFR with a person.
Musk on the importance of SpaceX and space exploration
Before revealing Maezawa's mission to the Moon, Musk gave a heartfelt introduction as to why SpaceX exists in the first place.
"The reason for creating SpaceX was to accelerate the advent of humanity becoming a space bearing civilisations, to advance rocket technology to become a multiplanet species and becoming a true space bearing species," Musk said.
He also talked about the sobering possibilities that the best chance for survival of the human race might not be on Earth.
"There could be some natural or man made event that ends life as we know it," he said. "It's important to extend life beyond earth as quickly as we can. That window can be open for a long time or a short time, but we can't assume that it will be open for a long time."
He also mentioned the fact that SpaceX narrowly came into existence. Musk recalled the team only had four chances to get the rocket successfully into low-Earth orbit -- and it only succeeded on its fourth and final try.
"How many people would've looked at SpaceX in 2008 and imagined that in 2018 we'd be where we are?" Musk asked, including himself in the incredulous and doubtful group.
"This is something that makes you glad to be a human being. That is the intent of BFR -- to make people excited about the future."
Sending the internet into a frenzy
A flurry of discussion and speculation started on September 13, when SpaceX's Twitter account announced it would release the name of the first private passenger in a special event.
"SpaceX has signed the world's first private passenger to fly around the Moon aboard our BFR launch vehicle—an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of traveling to space," SpaceX representatives announced on Twitter Thursday. "Find out who’s flying and why on Monday, September 17."
After the announcement was made that at-the-time-mystery-passenger Maezawa would be revealed on the 17th, Elon Musk tweeted out a cryptic tweet with a single Japanese flag emoji.
The response tweet sent Musk's fanbase into a myriad of speculations.
Prior to that, the SpaceX CEO tweeted out a handful of hopeful visuals for the future of the BFR.
Musk also tweeted his appreciation for NASA, NASA's history and National Security missions.
Musk and the SpaceX crew also got a response from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in support of today's announcement:
Interesting Engineering will continue updating this story as more information becomes available.