It’s true what they say: the real estate market is incredibly hot right now. Apparently, even beyond the reaches of the Earth’s atmosphere.
According to a Twitter exchange between musicians Lil Uzi Vert and Grimes last week, the rapper is “still working on” the purchase of a gaseous giant.
The planet in question, called WASP-127 b, is more than 1.3 times the size of Jupiter. If Lil Uzi Vert were to ever close on the deal, it would technically be the largest real estate transaction in history.
Why exactly Lil Uzi Vert would ever want to actually buy a planet may be a bit vexing for some. One artist’s interpretation shows it as cotton-candy in color, but no one actually knows what it looks like. And, as with all gas giants, the rapper couldn’t actually stand on the planet’s surface.
Plus, it would involve a killer commute. If Lil Uzi Vert were somehow able to take one of his roughly 10 cars and travel at a safe but steady 60 miles per hour, he’d get to his new property in roughly 6 billion years, per NASA’s estimate. Imagine getting there and remembering you forgot something at home.
Needless to say, the Twitter exchange prompted questions about the veracity of Lil Uzi Vert’s claim, which is … suspect, to say the least.
Who the heck buys a planet? Who the heck sells a planet? Why would Lil Uzi Vert want to own an interstellar body that would take more than 5,000 years to travel to? (That’s if, by one estimate, he was traveling at the current theoretical spacecraft speed limit: 10% the speed of light.) How much would it cost? Could there perhaps be a wiser way for Lil Uzi Vert to use his money?
All of these questions are of profound scientific and existential significance. So Marketplace put some of them to Jim Bell, a professor at Arizona State’s School of Earth and Space Exploration and former president of the Planetary Society.
Could Lil Uzi Vert actually ever own a planet?
Also no. At least according to international space law, Bell said.
“I mean, we’ve sort of agreed, as a civilization, that nobody can own a planet or moon or a comet or an asteroid,” Bell said. “So it would require, I think, a pretty hefty change in international law to suddenly allow folks to be owning our solar system or other solar systems.”
That’s because, in 1967, the United Nations ratified its Outer Space Treaty, which states that “outer space shall be free for exploration and use by all States.”
According to the treaty, any past, present or future sales of stars, moons, planets or asteroids are null and void.
What about those certificates you can buy that allow you to name stars?
No matter how romantic or special it may be to gift someone a part of the night sky, Bell advises not to waste your money on those.
“It’s really just for fun,” he said. “It’s…