Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Unreal estate

Thanks to a friend and loyal reader of Skeptophilia, I found out yesterday that those of you who would like a nice place to retire can now buy property...

... on Mars.

I'm not joking, although the people who set up the site may well be.  Here's the idea:
Own an acre of land in our Solar System’s 4th planet; package includes the deed, a map with location of your land, and a Mars info eBook.
Which sounds like it's completely aboveboard, given that it comes with an official deed and an informational booklet and all.

Home, sweet home.  [image courtesy of NASA/JPL]

They go on to give us more details:
Buying land on Mars sounds like a plot line in some futuristic sci-fi flick about billionaires.  In truth, it's a modern-day possibility for thousandaires.  Buy Planet Mars gives astrophiles the chance to buy one acre of land on the Red Planet.  Much like the purchase of a star, Martian Land Packages include a map charting your acre's location, an owner's deed, a NASA report on Mars exploration, and a photo eBook.  These packages are issued digitally, meaning they're available for download immediately after purchase.
Yes, thousandaires, as long as they have more money than sense.  An acre of land on Mars costs $35, which sounds pretty cheap, until you realize that (1) you're never going to go there, and (2) even after you purchase it, you don't really own land on Mars, because (3) the person selling the property on Mars doesn't technically own what he's selling.

Which evidently is not apparent to the 210 people who have paid actual money for this unreal estate.  The seller's Groupon page has a lot of positive testimonials, such as the following:
  • When you can't afford land in California, might as well invest in the future!
  • “It's fun, thought provoking, unique and a great conversation peace [sic] I have never owned property, how could I pass it up?
  • Fun gift, who knows what it could be in the future?
Worthless!  Yay!  Isn't that fun?

Okay, I know I'm coming across as a humorless curmudgeon here.  Which is hardly fair, because I'm not humorless, although my wife contends that I've been a curmudgeon since infancy.  And after all, I'm the guy who was fully in favor of everyone purchasing alien abduction insurance.  (After posting that one, an anonymous reader of Skeptophilia purchased alien abduction insurance for me, and made my dog the beneficiary.)

So maybe I should be encouraging people to buy property on Mars.  You never know, maybe one day we'll have manned missions to Mars, and you could go visit your homestead.  Although this didn't work out so well for Matt Damon in The Martian.  As I recall, it became uncomfortably breezy.  And the upshot of it was that you might want to consider doing something with your land other than potato farming.

Anyhow.  If you've got an extra $35 that you can't think of doing something more productive with, which in my opinion would include using it to start a campfire, you can buy an acre of land on Mars.  If you do, make sure to post here and let me know the details.  I'm especially curious about the deed, because you have to wonder under whose jurisdiction it's being issued.

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