It might seem like an idea taken straight out of science fiction, but a ‘space nation’ could soon become a reality. At least, that is if plans developed by an international group of scientists, announced today, go ahead. The team has announced it will kick-start the independent nation, which it has dubbed Asgardia, by launching a satellite next year.
In Norse religion, Asgard (Old Norse: ”Ásgarðr”; “Enclosure of the Æsir“) is one of the Nine Worlds and home to the Æsir tribe of gods. According to Gylfaginning, Odin and his wife, Frigg, are the rulers of Asgard. One of Asgard’s well known locations is Valhalla, in which Odin rules.
People can sign up to become a citizen on the Asgardia project website, the first 100,000 would be automatically become citizens. Within one week of the announcement, over 300,000 people globally had submitted applications. The project is creating a new framework for ownership and nationhood in space, by creating a completely new nation, according to the project leaders.
The team, led by Dr Igor Ashurbeyli, founder of the Aerospace International Research Center, unveiled the plans at a press conference last week in Paris. One of the early developments planned by the team will be the creation of a state-of-the-art protective shield for all humankind. This will protect the world from cosmic threats, both man-made and natural, to life on earth.
‘The project’s concept comprises three parts – philosophical, legal and scientific/technological,’ said Dr Igor Ashurbeyli. ‘Asgardia is a fully-fledged and independent nation, and a future member of the United Nations – with all the attributes this status entails.’ ‘The essence of Asgardia is Peace in Space, and the prevention of Earth’s conflicts being transferred into space,’ Dr Ashurbeyli said.
Asgardia is the first ‘space nation’. It is described as ‘a fully-fledged and independent nation, and a future member of the United Nations’. The Asgardia Project Team is made up of experts from around the globe. Dr Igor Ashurbeyli, is a well known and respected Russian scientist and founder of the Aerospace International Research Center (AIRC) in Vienna. He is the chairman of UNESCO’s ‘Science of Space’ committee.
By creating a new space nation, the experts behind the project hope to be able to develop future space technology free from the restrictions of state control. The first Asgardia satellite is planned to be launched in autumn 2017. One of Asgardia’s first projects will be the creation of a protective shield to protect humankind from space debris, including asteroids. Asgardia as a state would not be distracted by things like infrastructure, such as roads and hospitals. He called Asgardia “… a mirror reflection of Earth in space, but without the borders, boundaries, religious constraints and without the state lines; a digital mirror reflection without all those drawbacks. We prefer dialogue with people and companies, not states. Asgardia can facilitate that environment inside the envelope it can create.”
Ram Jakhu, the Director of McGill University’s Institute of Air and Space Law in Montreal, is the Asgardia project team legal expert. Jakhu told Space.com via Skype on Oct.12 that with the selected citizens, a government and an inhabited spacecraft to call territory, Asgardia would eventually fulfill three of the four elements the U.N. needs to consider a nation as a state. The fourth is recognition by U.N. member states.
The prospective nation is being established to “serve humanity” and for “peace in space,” according to Ashurbeyli. A scientist by training, Ashurbeyli founded what is now a holding company, Socium Holding, which, according to the Asgardia website, has “more than 10,000 employees across 30 companies worldwide.” According to his own website, the companies under Scoium Holding are “operating in many diverse sectors within the fields of science, technology and the social sphere.”
“If you look at a nation’s population, statistically, 2 percent of the population are creative and productive and progressive, so we hope that looking at the population of Earth, 7.5 billion, we are hoping that 150 million would be those creative progressive people who become Asgardians,” Ashurbeyli told Space.com.
He said that during citizenship selection, preference will be given to those applicants who develop and invest in space technologies. The Asgardia project team also has plans for satellites that would protect the Earth from asteroids and space debris. Asgardia project team member, Joseph Pelton, who is the Director Emeritus of the Space & Advanced Communications Research Institute at George Washington University, told Space.com after the news conference that the defense of the Earth would require different spacecraft.
For asteroid defense, Pelton envisages a flotilla of spacecraft that would be launched to meet the huge space rock years before it reached Earth and would fire lasers at the object’s surface. The laser fire would vaporize parts of the surface and the resulting jets of vapor would create enough force to slowly push the asteroid in another direction, avoiding Earth. Pelton expects Asgardia to work with Earth-based nation states to fund such a defense system.
For a defense against coronal mass ejections (powerful bursts of charged particles from the sun that can damage satellites or power grids), Pelton told Space.com: “I am working with Jim Green who is head of planetary sciences at NASA and we think it might be possible to deploy a system at L1, a million and a half kilometers [930,000 miles] out, that would have one to two Tesla magnetic fields that would be like an artificial Van Allen belt.” Tesla is the unit of measurement for the strength of a magnetic field (not only the name of a car company), and the L1 orbit lies between the Earth and the moon. The Van Allen belts are a collection of charged particles, gathered in place by Earth’s magnetic field, which deflect harmful particles from the sun.
Pelton went on to describe a Bigelow Aerospace inflatable space station positioned at L1, that uses solar power to create the magnetic force field to mitigate the impact of the coronal mass ejections. For these defense projects and other space technology developments, Ashurbeyli said he foresees crowdfunding as one potential source of investment capital.
So if you want to stop the world and get off, here is your chance and it is as real as it can get. You can apply for citizenship on Asgardia here: Asgardia. You can also follow their progress as well. These are very influential and real accomplished people offering a real opportunity to join man’s first political movement into space. As crazy as it sounds, it also is very inviting to think you can become a real citizen of man’s first real space nation. Live long and prosper!