We see many bequests to the arts in our estate planning and litigation practice, but this might be the biggest – and most unusual – philanthropic “ask” of all time.
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa – a 42-year-old retail entrepreneur, art collector, and former punk-rocker – announced that he had purchased the first tourist ticket on Elon Musk’s inaugural SpaceX flight to the moon and back, scheduled for 2023.
Then came the surprising part. He didn’t just purchase one ticket for the flight: he purchased all the tickets. At a cost of millions, he plans to ask a handful of artists from different disciplines – film, photography, painting and more – to join him on the inaugural flight.
In exchange for a donated flight ticket, the artists would create works inspired by their experience. You can read more about Maezawa here. And this short video sets out his goals for the project, one that he calls #dearMoon. It’s a revolutionary idea for the revolutionary concept of tourist space travel.
Oh, but the risks …
Revolutionary or not, what do you say to someone who offers you an artistic experience worth millions, but also one that could kill you? Even Musk acknowledges that space travel carries significant risk, and NASA has expressed serious concerns about the launch process in particular. That said, NASA plans to use SpaceX rockets in 2019 to send astronauts to the International Space Station.
And the artists for the 2023 flight? Maezawa hasn’t asked anyone yet, but he is encouraging those he does ask to say “yes.” Which begs the question: what would you do if you were asked? If I were in the later part of my artistic career, with family all grown and an artistic legacy established, I might jump at the chance. I’d have lived a full life, and there are worse ways to go if something does go wrong.
But for many, the potential sacrifice of life for art will be, I think, too much to ask. I have no doubt that Maezawa will be travelling with a full flight of artists. I’ll be curious to see which ones agree to go.
Thanks for reading … Have a great day,
Ever dream of being an astronaut? If you were not one in life fear not, there is still the chance that you can travel in space after your death. According to a Toronto Star article by Nicole Baute, it would appear that when it comes to burial possibilities, the sky is not the limit.
Celestis Inc. is a company co-founded by commercial space age pioneer Charles Chafer that specializes in “Memorial Spaceflights”. The ashes are placed in aluminum capsules inside a Celestis spacecraft, which is a small cylinder that hitches a ride on a rocket heading elsewhere. The spacecraft breaks away from the rocket once it is deep in space and then orbits the earth for anywhere from a few years to several hundred years, depending on how far into space it goes. Solar wind and the natural degradation of the orbit eventually pull the spacecraft back into the earth’s atmosphere, where it incinerates like a meteor upon contact. The cost is anywhere from $695 to $12,500 $US.
If space travel isn’t for you, Baute reports on other unconventional options. Perhaps you would like to have your ashes pressed into a vinyl record for family and friends (the sound quality is a little scratchy and you might have to supply the turntable) or even an attractive paper weight. Those who are concerned about the environment can have themselves composted. As for me, I think I’d like to be turned into a diamond.
Considering all the burial options out there, with a little imagination, you can go to infinity and beyond!
Sharon Davis – Click here for more information on Sharon Davis.