How much would it cost to post a letter to Mars? The curiosity of five-year-old Oliver Giddings from the UK, who aspires to be an astronaut, caused him to pose the question to the official postal service of the country, the Royal Mail. The latter actually took his query into consideration and went so far as asking for relevant answers from NASA experts.
The Royal Mail team requested NASA scientists to determine the distance the letter would need to
cover as well as the amount of fuel required to make the journey to Mars possible. And, not forgetting stamps, the price thereof needed to send a 100-gram letter to a NASA base before it is ‘shipped’ to Mars was also deduced from the current prices of the Royal Mail.
The total expenses amount to £11,602 and 25 pence (US$17,427). £11,000 actually seems pretty fair, given that the letter will have to travel at least 56 million km. Furthermore, either 18,416 First Class stamps, or 21,486 Second Class stamps, would be needed. Yet another option would entail a special Mars stamp whose value would be tantamount to the ones estimated.
Oliver Giddings, take note! Start saving your pennies!
The answer was eventually communicated to Oliver. The Royal Mail senior customer advisor, Andrew Smout, explained to him that their team deduced the amount of the expenses from the information obtained from NASA and based on their own current prices.
Andrew Smout adds that the costly price of fuel influences that of letters being sent across the globe.
Oliver, naturally thrilled at having got a response from the Royal Mail, thanked them for the reply, exclaiming that one would “need so many stamps” to send a letter to Mars!
Now that we know how much sending a letter to Mars would cost, we can patiently wait for the day it might be turned into reality. Meanwhile, NASA astronauts are working on future manned missions to the Red Planet.