Everybody dreams of becoming disgustingly rich, but to do so usually involves a lifetime of hard work or incredible luck on the lottery. What if we were to tell you that there was a third way of becoming as rich as Donald Trump, without the questionable politics or even more questionable hairpieces? You can become a person of leisure for the rest of your days simply by engaging your little grey cells on a one-off project.
The world is filled with mysteries and problems that are crying out to be solved - and there are very generous rewards indeed involved, should you be the person to get to the bottom of them. Of course, these mysteries are not easy to answer or everybody would be at it, but there are many that are open to the public as you read this that offer sums of money as a reward that could change your life forever.
From unsolved murders to proving the existence of paranormal activity, via the world's greatest treasure hunt, these mysteries are all unsolved at the time of writing and could vastly inflate your bank balance should you be the one to come up with the elusive answer. Read on, dig out your deerstalkers and remember your pals at The Richest should you beat the odds to close the case.
It's one of the greatest mysteries in the history of aviation. In the early hours of March 8, 2014, Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 disappeared from radar screens above the South China Sea during a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. No sign of wreckage has ever been found and all of the 239 people on board the flight have remained missing ever since. Despite multiple claims of sightings, satellite pings and oil slicks, no solid lead has ever been forthcoming and it is thought that the plane could have flown for up to seven hours without radar, widening the search area dramatically.
In a desperate attempt to find out what happened, family members of the missing passengers teamed up with benefactors to launch a campaign for information on indiegogo.com, which they hope will provide solid leads as to where the plane ended up, what happened to the passengers and why the Australasian governments have failed to act upon tip-offs. While the reward pot currently stands at $3 million, the families hope to hit their target of $5 million through donations.
While it may at first seem exploitative to make money from such a tragedy, the families are desperate for closure and welcome any efforts to find the plane and gain information, which they will pass onto a private investigative team. Anybody who thinks that they can help with the campaign and claim the reward can investigate further here.
9 Victoria Police Cold Cases
As anybody who loves hard-boiled detective fiction will testify, the police can't be expected to solve every heinous crime by themselves. Often, a mysterious femme fatale, a teenage computer whizz or a reclusive genius will act as a deus ex machina to find the last piece of the puzzle for the beleaguered cop. If you conform to any of these literary stereotypes, book a flight to Victoria, Australia immediately - you could just make yourself a millionaire.
In an attempt to close all the cold cases on their files, Victoria police have introduced a new policy in which anybody volunteering information that leads to the successful close of the case will be rewarded with a cool $1 million. The first of the cases, of which there are currently eight, to carry the reward is the gruesome murder of a suburban grandmother in 1994.
While there are over 200 cold cases in the Victoria files, dating back to 1963, some "only" carry a $100,000 reward. However, the police are considering bringing uniformity to the reward system, meaning that anybody who can solve one of hundreds of unsolved cases in the district could be in for a very handsome reward.
8 NASA Nanosatellite Challenge
If you've ever dreamed of answering the mysteries of the universe, or your spiritual hero is Howard Wolowitz from The Big Bang Theory, then this is the challenge for you. It's not just anybody that can launch a satellite into space, but for those with the know-how, immortality can be yours, to the tune of a $2 million reward purse.
NASA is seeking non-employees to successfully launch a nano-satellite to orbit around the Earth. The only conditions are that the payload must weigh at least 1 kg and measure at least 10x10x11 centimeters . If it completes at least one orbit past the starting point, as verified by allied organisations, then congratulations! The prize purse is yours.The CEO may even stump up the cash personally, if asked nicely enough.
7 Beal's Conjecture
Maths wizards have spent far too long grumping around in educational facilities, desperately trying to convince students that Pythagoras's Theorem has a functional use in everyday life. While everybody who has graduated high school knows this to be a lie, they haven't done enough to encourage mathematics experts to find a more rewarding way of earning money. They should have been ushering them towards a practical maths application that actually has relevance - solving the puzzle of Beal's Conjecture.
Dr. Andrew Beal is a prominent banker and mathematics fiend whose ambition is for students to think more deeply about the field of maths. He set up a prize fund, which currently stands at $1 million, for anybody able to prove the truth behind Fermat’s Last Theorem. The theorem states that: if Ax + By = Cz, where A, B, C, x, y and z are positive integers and x, y and z are all greater than 2, then A, B and C must have a common prime factor. The gauntlet has been laid down - are you going to be the one to finally solve the puzzle? Our heads hurt just reading it.
6 Challenge The Methuselah Mouse
Many breakthroughs in genetic science have been achieved through working with mice, which are genetically similar to humans. Their short lifespans and inexpensive nature makes them perfect test studies for innovations in genetic studies. This led to the M Foundation offering cash prizes for students able to both prolong the lives of their rodent test subjects and, separately, those who could rejuvenate the lifespan of older mice.
Currently, a $1.4 million purse is available to those who can successfully either prolong the lifespans of Mickey Mouse's grandpa or cultivate a younger mouse to live a richer, fuller and far longer life. While some may scoff at the value of allowing mice to haunt both your dreams and abode for far longer than is decent, the benefits to existing humans who would like to see what life is like in the 22nd century is invaluable. We recommend plenty of fresh veg and pasta.
5 James Randi Paranormal Challenge
If you are the sort of person who watches the Paranormal Activity series and sees it as a documentary, then this is the challenge for you. For centuries, man has heard an unexplained bump in the night, seen lights in the sky or watched a charlatan predict the future and wigged out completely. While your friends may reassure you that you aren't going mad, you get the distinct feeling that you're right and you need proof.
If you have experienced such phenomena and you haven't simply enjoyed rum too liberally that night, then the place you need to turn to is the James Randi Educational Facility. Anybody of sane mind over the age of 18 can submit their experience and be tested under controlled conditions to verify the validity of their paranormal experience, in return for a $1 million reward. Since 1964, over 650 have applied to the foundation to prove the existence of paranormal activity. The total number of applicants who have managed to beat the skeptics so far? Zero.
4 Archon Genomics Prize
Genome study is one of the most important areas in science when it comes to prolonging human life. The practice is still a relatively new area of genetics, but it is a vital and underdeveloped part of ensuring that we can all experience the world that Blade Runner promised us would be in full swing by the 22nd century. For anybody still wondering if they'll be around long enough to see replicants and flying cars, you can be a part of making this a reality.
In 2006, Archon Genomics offered a $10 million prize to the person or study group that could "rapidly and accurately sequence 100 whole human genomes" to a level that had previously been unsurpassed. The cost of the project had to run at less than $10,000 per genome. While the prize - a reward for the potential of prolonging the life of a healthy human - was cancelled due to "technological advancement" , the project was recently rumored to be green-lit again.
3 Australian Online Murder Mystery
If the enduring popularity of the board game Cluedo has taught us anything, it's that everybody enjoys a good murder mystery, especially if it involves dastardly deeds with lead pipes by professors with alliterative names. Australia has taken the premise one step further, with an online version of a murder mystery that promises to make virtual detectives capable of solving the puzzle disgustingly rich.
A free-to-play website offers a cash prize of $25,000 available to anybody who is able to bring the fictional killer to justice. All of the clues, victims and killer profiles are contained within the website and online videos help you to play. Different versions of the game are available, which means that anybody who wants to win the respect of their family and friends, or face the jealousy of wrathful competitors on the comments board, can dive straight into the world of foul murderous shenanigans.
2 CMI Millennium Problems
The turn of the millennium was a time to address unfinished business. This was particularly relevant for academics, who finally realized that the Millennium Bug was ridiculous nonsense and instead, frantically began leafing through their inboxes, mindful that their computers weren't suddenly going to erase their in-trays. In faction to this, the Clay Mathematics Institute offered cash prizes to anybody offering solutions to problems that were still troubling their top boffins.
Seven particularly difficult Millennium Prize Problems were chosen and a fund was organized to pay anybody able to solve these puzzles $1 million per problem. This included a solution to the Riemann Hypothesis, a fiendishly difficult and unsolved problem first formulated in 1859 and listed as unsolved as far back as a Paris address in 1900. Any maths geniuses reading this can find fame and fortune by finally proving the hypothesis.
1 The Great Global Treasure Hunt
The Great Global Treasure Hunt is by far the most quintessentially modern puzzle of all of the entries on this list. It consists of 14 separate puzzles, which range from the relatively simple to the horrifically difficult, and has bent the mind of many applicants. Should you be the first person in the history of the competition to solve all 14 puzzles, then $55,000 can be yours - if you can find it.
The full compliment of 14 answers form an exact location on Google Earth. Should you manage to find out the place in question, then you simply have to find the exact 20ft square place contained in the longitude and latitude of the answer to claim your prize. You didn't think it was going to be as straightforward as solving 14 puzzles that literally nobody else has managed to do so far, did you?