If you’re so sure that aliens exist, one scientist wants you to bet on it.
Jacob Haqq-Misra, a research scientist with the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, submitted a proposal last week to sell bonds that would only pay out when Earthlings prove the existence of extraterrestrial life.
According to the proposal, submitted to The Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, funds raised from the bonds would go toward the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, also known as seti. Haqq-Misra suggests that the bonds could raise millions of dollars.
The proposal calls for the bonds to use a lottery system. Unlike fixed rate bonds that accrue interest at a predetermined rate, lottery bonds call for some randomly selected bonds to be redeemed at a higher value than their face value. Lottery logic says that if buyers have a chance of making more money than they put in, more people may contribute.
Currently seti is funded mainly through grants and donations that come at irregular intervals. Since the seti program ideally requires constant surveillance of the sky so researchers don’t miss any signals, funds from bond sales could provide a steadier, more robust source of funding, the proposal states.
Another selling point for the proposal: Haqq-Misra explains that even if life in space doesn’t turn up, the lottery bond system could encourage fiscal responsibility by teaching participants about savings, interest and budgets.
“In the best case, seti succeeds,” Haqq-Misra writes in the proposal. “But even in the worst case, if seti ﬁnds nothing, then it will at least have taught us how to think more seriously about our financial future.”
The proposal isn’t a reality yet, but the document explains that logistically, a single global bank or a group of international banks would be best fit to issue the bonds since the project is a global endeavor. This would allow people from every nation to buy into the bond system.
Meg Wagner - Mashable