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Buy a Slice of Europa

Buy a Slice of Europa

We know these sorts of things basically amount to shady get-rich-quick schemes, but every once in a while, one deserves a little tip of the hat.

AlienShares is offering acreage deeds—certified by the aliens "Kang" and "Dennis" from the planet Xhrz—to swaths of real estate of Jupiter’s moon Europa. Europa is currently considered one of the more likely spots for extraterrestrial life to have developed in the solar system outside of Earth; although covered in a thick icy crust, scientists believe geothermal and tidal energies may feed salt-water oceans beneath the moon’s surface. The possible chemistry, consistency, and temperature of those oceans may be conducive to the development of simple organisms.

At this point, it’s all speculation, but it’s been fueled by images from the recent Galileo mission to Jupiter, and NASA plans a more detailed examination of the moon in future space exploration missions. But where there’s scientific speculation, there’s an opportunity for financial speculation: enter AlienShares.com.

The idea behind AlienShares is that the surface or Europa has been divvied up in to one-acre plots, and customers can buy "deeds" to these one-acre segments—or larger allotments of a whopping 325,000 acres—in a contest to see who "owns" the area alien life forms are first discovered. If they exist at all. And if they’re on Europa. And if they’re ever found. A one-acre parcel goes for £2.99 (about $5.50 USD); a 325,000 acre parcel goes for £7.99 (about $14.80 USD).

(If you’re curious, the surface of Europa is over 7.6 billion acres. If AlienShares were to sell every acre individually, the operation would be worth almost £23 billion, or nearly $43 billion USD. We’re not addressing the different definitions of "billion" in the U.S. and the U.K., since it makes our heads hurt.)

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