It’s one of the most iconic movie moments of all time: E.T., pointing up to the skies, asking to phone his home. If you remember, E.T. was deserted on Earth after a research mission. He wants to contact his home planet and be reunited with his alien friends.
As the movie goes, E.T. never ends up actually dialing his home planet. Instead, he created a radio system which sends out a signal alerting his friends that he’s still stuck on planet Earth.
But what if E.T. managed to phone home? How much would it cost to make a call to a different planet?
A team of researchers at TollFreeForwarding decided to embark on the mission of determining how much an intergalactic call could cost.
One of the first issues to determine was where E.T. actually came from. The 1982 sci-fi movie by Steven Spielberg never mentions E.T.’s home planet, but it is named as Brodo Asogi in the follow-up book, E.T.: The Book of the Green Planet. This planet is 3 million light years from Earth.
Then the researchers had to determine how much an intergalactic call would cost per mile from California, the setting of the movie, to Brodo Asogi, E.T.’s home planet. To do this, a list of costs per minute for phone calls to every country in the world was made. American provider, AT&T’s pricing was used, as it was the biggest provider in California during the time the research was conducted. Each of the phone calls’ costs were multiplied by 10 to simulate a ten-minute call, which would be enough time for E.T. to tell everyone what happened.
The cost per mile for each country was calculated by dividing the cost of each call by the distance to each of them from California, with the average cost being $0.004343021 per mile.
The distance to E.T.’s home planet was translated into miles, with one light year being 5,865,696,000,000 miles. So Brodo Asogi, being 3 million light years away would be 17,597,088,000,000,000,000 miles away, which is 706 trillion times around Earth.
The distance in miles was then multiplied by the original cost per mile. This works out to $76,424,516,944,816,700.00 or $76 quadrillion. Elliot’s mom would not be happy.