LOS ANGELES — Japanese billionaire Yusaka Maezawa, along with six to eight hand-selected artists, is boldly going where no man has gone before — well, in at least nearly half a century.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Monday night revealed Maezawa’s selection as the first private passenger to fly around the moon aboard the company’s so-called Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR, when it blasts off in 2023.

While Musk declined to say exactly how much Maezawa paid for the distinction, the sum is expected to help subsidize the cost for more ordinary folks to one day follow in his footsteps.

“Any customers for BFR are incredibly helpful in funding development of the rocket,” he said.

Maezawa, a modern art collector who founded Japan’s largest online fashion mall Zozotown, doesn’t want to make the voyage alone. The 42-year-old aims to take six to eight artists with him to document the experience as part of a project dubbed Dear Moon.

“These masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us,” he said.

Maezawa is planning to reach out to “top artists that represent our planet from various fields,” including painters, sculptors, photographers, musicians, film directors and fashion designers.

“Please don’t say no,” he said with a laugh.

If the trip comes to pass, it will be the first time any humans have been to the moon since Gene Cernan, Ronald Evans and Harrison Schmitt flew there on Apollo 17 in December 1972.

In announcing Maezawa as BFR’s first paying passenger, Musk also shared details about the spacecraft. It will stand 118 meters tall and carry a payload in excess of 100 tons. When landing, it will fall like a skydiver before righting itself and landing on a trio of fins.

“This will look really epic in person,” Musk said.

The first 9-meter-wide cylinder section has been built, and others will follow soon. If all goes according to plan, the BFR will lift off on the 238,900-mile journey five years from now.

Musk reiterated SpaceX’s mission to transform humankind into a “multi-planet species.”

“That window of opportunity may be open for a long time or it may be open for a short time,” said Musk, who envisions establishing colonies on the moon, Mars and far beyond the solar system. “But we should not assume that it is open for a long time.”

This isn’t the first time Musk has promised to take people to the moon. In February 2017, SpaceX announced that two people had placed a “significant deposit” for a similar voyage.

“Like the Apollo astronauts before them,” the company said in an announcement at the time, “these individuals will travel into space carrying the hopes and dreams of all humankind, driven by the universal human spirit of exploration.”

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