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  • Hey, Vsauce. Michael here.

  • Earth only contains 1066 people.

  • Earth, Texas.

  • The only place on Earth officially named Earth.

  • There are at least two places named Moon

  • but the Earth only has one astronomical Moon.

  • Or does it? From September 2006 to June 2007, Earth had an additional Moon

  • named 2006 RH120. It's a near Earth

  • asteroid that usually orbits around the Sun but for 13 months

  • it fell into an orbit around our planet and became

  • another Moon of Earth. We can call it that because technically

  • a Moon is just a natural satellite. Something in

  • orbit around a planet that humans didn't put there.

  • There's no official minimum size requirement for Moon status.

  • The Moon, it's a Moon.

  • Sputnik, space junk, the International Space Station -

  • not Moons, they are artificial satellites.

  • Astronomers believe that, most of the time,

  • Earth has additional Moons. These newcomers don't always stick around that

  • long and they tend to only be about

  • a meter in diameter, so we don't always

  • detect them and they could, less sensationally,

  • be called temporary asteroid moons. But,

  • the vagueness of the word Moon means that, yes, technically

  • Earth usually has more than one

  • and Earth is booking it. I mean we're moving through space

  • incredibly quickly. A light year is an almost

  • unfathomable distance to put in the human terms

  • but our solar system orbits around the center of the Milky Way

  • at about 782,000 kilometres an hour.

  • Which means, that from the perspective of the center of

  • our galaxy, about every 1300 years

  • Earth travels an entire light year.

  • In other words, the Great Pyramid of Giza,

  • wasn't just built 4500 years ago, it was also built

  • almost three-and-a-half light years away.

  • Big deal - what's it all worth?

  • Could we assign a price to the entire planet? To Earth itself?

  • Well, Greg Loughman, an astrophysicist at the University of California, Santa Cruz

  • devised a beautiful equation for assessing the

  • value of exoplanets we discover.

  • It considers their habitability, their ease of being studied

  • and, of course, how much money we've already spent

  • looking for them. Funny enough, you can solve

  • for Earth and find out that compared to what we've already spent looking for

  • exoplanets - and what we know about them - Earth is worth

  • about five quadrillion dollars.

  • The History Channel famously stuck to Earth and

  • rang up all of Earth's resources like water, lumber and granite using the

  • current market prices they arrived at a total

  • of seven quadrillion dollars. If you removed and

  • isolated all of the elements your body contains, and then solved them each

  • at market price, you could fetch about two thousand dollars.

  • Reddit user Shady Potato applied this map

  • to Earth. If we could mine the entire planet, and separate out all of it's

  • pure elements, and prices didn't change because of that, we could sell it all

  • for 15.8 sextillion dollars.

  • Of course calculations like these don't include every single possible

  • thing earth, or any other planet has to offer,

  • and they also don't consider supply and demand.

  • If someone here on Earth, or some extraterrestrial

  • group of planet shoppers, had quadrillions,

  • sextillions of dollars, or the equivalent amount of power,

  • well, they would have the option to shop in a much

  • larger store. For crying out loud, there are more than 10,000 asteroids right here

  • near Earth. And just one of them - 433 Eros -

  • is estimated to contain a half quintillion dollars worth of platinum

  • alone, and by weight, even more iron.

  • So to be more realistic, instead of calculating Earth's value

  • on Earth, let's calculate its value on the

  • galactic marketplace, or the universal

  • marketplace. If you, or some hypothetical group of

  • aliens, shopping for a planet could pick any planet

  • in the entire Milky Way galaxy, what about Earth would make it

  • worth anything? The Milky Way galaxy

  • is estimated to contain a supply of around 100

  • to 400 billion planets. As far as

  • Earth analogues go, Kepler space mission data suggests there were probably

  • 40 billion Earth size planets orbiting within habitable zones

  • of stars in our galaxy. And within the observable universe?

  • Quadrillions.

  • So, from a raw materials and habitability stand point, Earth

  • probably isn't that rare. But Earth

  • does have some unique selling points.

  • For one, it's probably the only planet like itself within at least 12 light years.

  • So its location might be prime real estate

  • for an intergalactic rest stop or imminent

  • domain. And secondly, statistically speaking,

  • life as we know it might not be unique to Earth,

  • but there probably isn't life elsewhere that formed exactly like it did here

  • with jaguars, palm trees and hairless bipeds

  • who made the same buildings and jokes and art and music

  • that we have. These might be the truest unique selling points for Earth.

  • Aliens wouldn't have to understand, or appreciate any of it,

  • if it merely amused them it might be worth purchasing as a sort of

  • museum, or zoo at the least.

  • Of course, interstellar planet shoppers wouldn't have

  • Earth currency to buy it with, and space cash

  • isn't worth anything here. But

  • the technology it would take for them to get to us

  • would likely be at least thousands of years ahead of what we currently have. So,

  • an equitable trade might be, say, limited use of Earth

  • in exchange for their knowledge. Or full

  • use - or abuse - of Earth in exchange for their knowledge

  • and fair relocation of all

  • earthlings to some equally habitable exoplanet.

  • Boy, this type of speculation is totally

  • sci-fi. But you know what's not? The next part of

  • establishing Earth's value:

  • demand.

  • Despite what Earth has to offer,

  • despite what makes it unique, and despite National Geographic's list of

  • ten reasons other life forms might want Earth

  • so far we have received

  • 0 offers.

  • The Fermi Paradox formally

  • phrases this puzzle. With so many friendly to life as we know it

  • planets out there, many of which have been around longer than

  • even Earth, why haven't we been visited by,

  • or heard from, intelligent life yet?

  • Maybe Earth, and its intelligent life, really are

  • rare and special. Or maybe Earth

  • is so typical, so unremarkable, no other intelligent advanced lifeforms

  • could be bothered to stop by. But this raises another question.

  • Even if something came by, what makes us think it would

  • make an offer? Why would it consider our wishes at all?

  • In Star Trek 4, the aliens wanted to talk to whales

  • and humans were just an awkward third wheel.

  • When Thomas Jefferson made the Louisiana Purchase, he didn't ask,

  • say, squirrels in Nebraska for permission. He just

  • did it. And all those squirrels were suddenly in America,

  • without knowing it. For all we know, that

  • may have already happened to us. Earth could be owned by some larger

  • interstellar landlord.

  • Furthermore, this entire question rests on an even more fundamental

  • assumption, the assumption that other intelligent life forms

  • share our concept of ownership;

  • and the belief that physical things can be bought

  • and sold. Amongst earthlings, human

  • bartering is pretty unique. Only we have developed

  • complicated, socially agreed-upon norms, for the barter of

  • goods, the use of currency for goods, or the concept that you can

  • own a piece of Earth's surface.

  • Sure, animals can be territorial, but they haven't developed that into a more rigorous

  • expansive sense of fair exchange.

  • And when it comes to an individual owning more things than they could possibly hold

  • or defend on their own, well, we humans have systems for that.

  • We can teach some animals to use tokens as currency to exchange for

  • treats, but left on their own they don't incorporate

  • economic ideas into their regular social lives. At the most, we observe animals bartering

  • amongst each other for services -

  • but not goods. Why? Well, they may lack the cognitive ability required to keep track of

  • long-term transactional histories. But they also lack

  • two other extremely important things: communication and enforcement.

  • Services, like

  • grooming, are difficult to steal, so animals can easily trade them.

  • But without a language to facilitate

  • snitching, non-humans can't easily

  • report thefts or devise systems for reporting

  • and punishing violations. Animals create some pretty beautiful things.

  • Bowerbird nests, Pufferfish circles,

  • termite mounds, or the dramatic costumes decorator crabs fashion

  • out of sea floor debris.

  • But ownership, and the right to buy or sell what you make,

  • is only as useful as the power you have to enforce it.

  • And if you don't have enough power, someone or something else will make decisions

  • for you. For instance, we have decided that animals

  • don't own the selfies they take.

  • Three years ago in Indonesia a monkey stole photojournalist

  • David Slaters' camera. He later retreived the camera and found that the monkey

  • had snapped these fantastic images.

  • Slater maintained