Earth has been the Airbnb for some questionable guests over the years, but none have been more deplorable than humans. Our bad habits are screwing up the planet big time, causing arctic glaciers to melt and sea levels to rise 20cm over the last century alone. At this point, getting adopted by some alien overlords might not be such a bad idea — even NASA seems to be on board.
In anticipation of Earth Day, the agency has put our planet up for adoption, splitting it up into 64,000 pieces. Anyone interested can enter their name on NASA's Adopt the Planet website; then, users will randomly be assigned a section to "adopt". I got a section off the coast of Antarctica, which isn't exactly prime real estate, but still a good way to raise awareness about the shrinking ice sheets, I guess. I was able to learn more about my adopted hunk of Earth on NASA's Worldview website, where I could view air quality and vegetation on the adopted slice of land from NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System. Of course, you don't actually gain any legal rights to this land — but will our future aliens overlords really care about such trivial details?
Image: Screen Shot via NASA
While this might seem like an innocuous way to get people on Earth to care about the planet, don't be fooled. NASA is doubling down on its sales pitch for any extraterrestrials interested in adopting our world — on April 26, it will partner with Amazon to broadcast the first 4K live stream from space. Showing the majesty of our blue marble and glossing over all the corruption and disease is a pretty solid way to sell Earth. Gizmodo has reached out to NASA for comment on whether or not they'd like extraterrestrials to adopt the planet.
So while we wait for our alien saviours, let's clean up a bit? It can't hurt to try.