Image by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Apparently Sir Richard Branson has purchased the ex-planet Pluto. The article says he is planning on having Pluto reinstated as a planet to “set an example for struggling entrepreneurs facing setbacks”. I guess to show them that anything is possible. That’s a lovely message & all but what I’d like to know is how can one buy a planet? Excuse me, an ex-planet? Who exactly did Sir Richard purchase Pluto from?

Is anyone else wondering when the universe started selling planets?

Since when can a whole planet be bought or sold?

Since when did we decide that a whole planet can belong to any one being?

I understand Branson is thinking of the future & trying to send a positive message to the world, but is that really the message that buying a planet sends? I for one tend to get stuck on the fact that he bought something that wasn’t anyone’s to sell.

When you think about it buying property here on earth is exactly the same way. The land we live on has never really been anyone’s to sell. We are visitors here, we live, we die, that’s all. The land doesn’t belong to us, we just live on it. Buying & selling land is a human-only concept. Heck, buying & selling anything is a human-only concept.

Humans are very creative creatures. We like to invent stuff, & explore stuff, & do cool new things that no one has done before. There’s nothing wrong with that. But I wish people would stop & think a bit more about the impact they have in the world.

Sir Richard Branson’s plan to reinstate Pluto as a planet involves developing a “special deep space vehicle” with a “special harness to collect asteroids and space debris, which it will drag into Pluto’s gravitational field, increasing the planet’s mass.”

Has anyone thought about how this might affect the rest of the universe?

Has anyone considered that changing the mass of Pluto might affect all the other planets, including the one we happen to depend on for our continued existence?

I hope that Sir Richard is having this idea tested or researched before he goes ahead with it. It’s not being launched until April 2012 so maybe he’s using this year for research & planning.

I’m still curious who thinks they have the ability to sell a planet, but I guess all I can do is hope Branson’s plans to change the world & “pave the way for a new age in space tourism” doesn’t cause horrible, irreversible changes to our universe.

You may notice that the article was published on April 1st & the launch date is also April 1st. I am hoping this turns out to be a very big April fools joke.
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Comments on: "How Can You Buy A Planet?" (4)

  1. Wow! You’ve really got to hope it was meant as a joke, but it seems like exactly something that someone with that much money might do. It boggles the mind what we think we can “own”. Joke or not, it sure does make you think and wonder just how crazy the world is at times.

    • Hi Karen! Thanks for the comment. =) From what I’ve read/heard Branson likes to pull big stunts (good way to get media coverage for Virgin) & very much enjoys attempting record-breaking things. He’s already got a commercial space travel company set up called Virgin Galactic. So it’s hard to know if he’s serious about Pluto or not.

      He seems to be a pretty genuinely good guy who cares about the world. I watched an interview yesterday where he talked about solving social problems through entrepreneurship. I would think he’d consider that changing the mass of an ex-planet could have huge consequences. I guess we’ll find out.

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