It would cost a pretty penny to send mail to Mars—thousands of dollars, in fact. That’s what Oliver Giddings, a five-year-old space enthusiast from England, found out when he asked officials at British postal service company Royal Mail how much he’d have to pay to launch a Christmas card about 249 million miles to the red planet.
Royal Mail was stymied, so they turned to experts at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. According to calculations by the organization’s Mars outreach unit—which took into account the weight of Oliver’s letter, the distance from Earth to Mars, the cost of rocket fuel, and the international postage fee required to send NASA the letter—an intergalactic delivery would set Oliver back a hefty £11,602.25, or nearly $18,000. For that amount, in the UK, he could purchase 18,416 first class stamps or 21,466 second class stamps, the Mirror reports.
Unfortunately, time isn't on Oliver’s side either. As Tech Times points out, there’s no official launch date planned for a new mission to Mars anytime soon. Oliver would likely have to wait years for his letter to arrive, or hitch a ride on a private spacecraft and deliver it himself. On the bright side, an extra decade or so would give Oliver plenty of time to save up the needed cash—although by the time he gets older, he might choose to spend the funds on something more practical, like college tuition or a down payment on a house.