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Scientist proposes bond that will pay out when aliens are discovered

A scientist recently proposed the establishment of a lottery bond as a means to provide funding
for the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI).

Jacob Haqq-Misra of the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science is the scientist behind this proposal. He details his proposed SETI Lottery Bond in an article in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society:

Jacob Haqq-Misra. (Credit: Jacob Haqq-Misra)
Jacob Haqq-Misra. (Credit: Jacob Haqq-Misra)

The SETI Lottery Bond is a fixed rate perpetual bond with a lottery at maturity, where maturity occurs only upon discovery and confirmation of extraterrestrial intelligent life. Investors in the SETI Lottery Bond purchase shares that yield a fixed rate of interest that continues indefinitely until SETI succeeds—at which point a random subset of shares will be awarded a prize from a lottery pool. SETI Lottery Bond shares also are transferable, so that investors can benefact their shares to kin or trade them in secondary markets. The total capital raised this way will provide a fund to be managed by a financial institution, with annual payments from this fund to support SETI research, pay investor interest, and contribute to the lottery fund.

Business Insider notes that what makes these bonds unusual is that they assert with certainty that we will find alien life in the future.

Several of Haqq-Misra’s other projects have made headlines because they relate to contact with intelligent extraterrestrials. In June 2013, he announced the Lone Signal project that allows individuals to send messages into space. The initiative is based on the belief that “crowd sourcing messaging to intelligent life (METI) is the ideal approach to establishing a stable, cohesive, and well-resourced interstellar beacon on Earth.”

Haqq-Misra was also one of the authors of a 2011 paper published in the journal Space Policy calling for the establishment an extraterrestrial communication protocol to improve the likelihood of messages being understood by intelligent extraterrestrials.

Haqq-Misra believes his SETI Lottery Bond plan could generate “several to tens of millions of dollars” annually for SETI research. But Business Insider pessimistically states, “Given our current zero knowledge about alien life, these lottery bonds would probably be a hard sell, but they’re a fun way to help underfunded space research.”

Jason McClellan

Jason McClellan is a UFO journalist and the producer/co-host of the web series Spacing Out! He is also the web content manager and staff writer for OpenMinds.tv, and a co-organizer and technical producer of the International UFO Congress. As a founding member of Open Minds, Jason served as a writer and editor for the now defunct Open Minds magazine. He has appeared on Syfy, NatGeo, and, most recently, he co-starred on H2's Hangar 1: The UFO Files. ------ Follow Jason on Twitter @acecentric and subscribe to Jason's updates on Facebook.

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One Comment

  1. Whoops spelling error, A research lottery is a great idea, as long as it’s not the current US SETI program which gets the money. I’m sorry but I don’t think waiting for radio signals is the way to go. The US SETI program is only interested in reception of radio signals which assumes that all extraterrestrial civilization will use radio for communications like we do here on Earth, this is more wishful thinking. What really upsets me is the US SETI program won’t even consider we may all ready have ET visitation if you’re going to call yourself the Search for Extraterrestrial Life (SETI) shouldn’t you be open to all possibilities?

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