The Meteorite That Could Make You a Trillionaire

Avery Emberly

Updated Wednesday, June 5, 2024 at 7:10 AM CDT

The Meteorite That Could Make You a Trillionaire

The Legal Ownership of Meteorites in the US

In the United States, if a meteor lands on your property, it is legally considered yours. This fascinating fact opens up a realm of possibilities, especially when considering the potential value of certain types of meteorites. While many meteorites contain common elements, some could harbor rare and extraordinarily valuable substances like Californium.

The Value of Californium

Californium is a highly radioactive element, and its value is astronomical. A 3-ton meteorite composed of Californium could make its owner the wealthiest entity in the world. Valued at approximately $25 million per gram, such a meteorite would be worth around $75 trillion USD. To put this into perspective, this value is equivalent to about five times the total value of all the gold in the world and on par with the total value of the world's oil reserves.

The Risks of Californium

However, the ownership of such a valuable meteorite comes with significant risks. Californium is highly radioactive, and a 3-ton meteorite of it would contaminate the surrounding area, rendering it uninhabitable. The isotope Cf-251, in particular, has a critical mass of 5 kg and could cause a supercritical event, similar to a reactor meltdown, without proper shielding.

Government Intervention and Eminent Domain

Given the potential hazards, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) would likely intervene to regulate such a strong isotope. This could lead to evacuation and containment efforts. Furthermore, the government would likely seize the contaminated property, possibly offering compensation to the owner under the principle of eminent domain. Eminent domain allows the US government to seize property for public use, but they must provide just compensation.

National Security Concerns

The immense value of the meteorite could also raise national security concerns. The government might consider the owner a threat due to the potential economic impact of a $75 trillion asset. The presence of such a valuable meteorite could make the owner a target for other governments and military ent*****. In extreme cases, the government could imprison the owner under heavy security to protect the valuable asset.

Economic Impact

The economic impact of a $75 trillion meteorite could be likened to an "economic nuke," significantly affecting global markets. Such a sudden influx of wealth could destabilize economies and lead to unprecedented financial shifts. Historical precedents exist where governments have overthrown regimes for less valuable resources, highlighting the potential geopolitical ramifications.

Trespassing and Property Invasions

Meteorite hunters often trespass on properties where meteorites have landed, equipped with metal detectors and other tools. This invasion of privacy is similar to the actions of mushroom hunters, who also trespass on private property in search of valuable finds. If a valuable meteorite were to land on your property, the government would likely secure the area with soldiers before you could even investigate.

A Hypothetical Scenario

Imagine a hypothetical scenario where the meteorite lands softly due to a rare gravitational anomaly, ensuring the owner's survival. In this scenario, the owner has a family member who is an expert in radioactive containment, equipped to handle the Californium safely. The meteorite is described as a "magical ball of Californium," stable and safe while in the owner's possession but reverting to normal properties once removed.

While the idea of owning a $75 trillion meteorite is tantalizing, the reality is fraught with complexities. From legal ownership and government intervention to national security concerns and economic impacts, the ramifications are vast and multifaceted. Nonetheless, the concept serves as a fascinating exploration of wealth, power, and the unforeseen consequences of owning such a rare and valuable asset.

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