Yusaku Maezawa will be SpaceX's first tourist to the Moon in 2023

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But the name of the passenger wasn't announced until Monday night, during a webcast announcement from SpaceX's Hawthorne facility.

"I love the moon", Maezawa told ABC News' David Kerley following the announcement. "Just staring at the moon filled my imagination".

He wondered on stage what John Lennon, Coco Chanel, Michael Jackson or Andy Warhol would have created had they seen the Moon up close. "These artists will be asked to create something after they return to Earth, and these masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us", Maezawa added. He has yet to select the artists he will invite for the trip.

The trip is tentative set to occur in 2023.

Of course, the trip will be all expenses paid for the artists.

In 2017, Mr Musk announced that he would be sending two paying passengers on a loop around the Moon - which was to have launched as early as this year.

It's unclear what kind of training Maezawa will go through before touring the moon.

Only 24 humans have visited the Moon - all of them Americans; 12 of them landed on the moon.

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The Moon is about 385,000 km away from Earth and the last time an astronaut travelled there was in 1972 as part of the Apollo 17 mission.

The project is incredibly ambitious and expensive - the total development costs for BFR are somewhere between $US2 billion and $US10 billion, Musk said. If all goes according to plan, he'll take a lunar voyage on the Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR, a launch system that SpaceX is developing to colonize Mars.

Asked if he himself is the passenger, he hinted that the mystery person is Japanese by tweeting the country's flag.

The company has been racing to meet NASA's need of a crew-capable spacecraft to take astronauts to the International Space Station and back, along with Boeing, and both companies have fallen well behind their original schedules. It is scheduled for an unmanned demonstration launch in November.

Shotwell said Monday that SpaceX is planning to conduct a test flight of a version of the Dragon capsule that can carry astronauts before the end of the year.

Billionaire Yusaku Maezawa declared "I choose to go the the moon" after being introduced by SpaceX's chief executive Elon Musk at the company's headquarters in California.

After being announced as the first BFR customer, Maezawa joined Musk on stage. The businessman is the founder of one of Japan's largest retail sites, Zozotown.

The companies made him a billionaire by his mid-30s, and Forbes magazine now lists him as the 18th richest man in Japan with a personal wealth of $2.9bn (£2.2bn).