The perfect Christmas gift?

There’s good spam and there’s bad spam… bad spam offers me a dangerous array of dubious prescription drugs and the chance to receive money from some extremely generous Nigerian bankers. Good spam is harmless but unwanted… and sometimes it’s received because at some point in the past I purchased something or maybe even submitted my own e-mail address. I’m talking about the offer of an array of Christmas gifts from a company which offers acres of land situated on other places in the solar system, the chance to become a Scottish laird or lady, and even an opportunity to adopt a grape vine.

It probably won’t surprise you that I already own an acre of the Moon – it was a gift a few years ago, along with a derma roller, best gift ever. The package contains a certificate (the lunar deed) and a map of the Moon – X marking the spot of my acre, a nice plot North-East of the Oceanus Procellarum – both of which take pride of place on the wall of my home office. I do realise that I’ll probably never visit the plot in person, and will probably never get rich if NASA discover a rich vein of minerals running through it, but I do get the telescope out occasionally to make sure no-one is trespassing. I have briefly considered how much rights as a land-owner I would have should the Moon ever be colonised, but it’s filed under ‘unlikely’. Nevertheless, an acre on the Moon does constitute something tangible, and as for an acre of Mars… well, maybe one day mankind will step foot on the red planet. But an acre of Venus…?

This strikes me as a bum deal. Within seconds of setting foot on Venus you would resemble a hamburger. The atmospheric pressure, over 90 times that of Earth’s, would squash you flat. And then the 470 °C temperatures would have a cooking effect on your flesh and organs. The sulphuric acid rain would also add to the general unpleasantness of your visit. With 60% of sunlight bouncing back off Venus’ thick atmosphere, the view of the dried and crusty volcanic landscape will be terrible.

Venus is nearly the same size as Earth, so it’s much bigger than Mars or the Moon – and that means there’s more one-acre plots to sell. So bearing in mind there’s no shortage of Venusian land and it’s overall lack of attraction, why does the land there cost the same as Mars and the Moon? It’s a bit daft if you ask me.


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