Scientists unveiled their plans for Asgardia, a nation state in orbit above Earth with room for 100,000 citizens tasked with protecting the planet, mining asteroids, and researching space travel.
Russian scientist Dr. Igor Ashurbeyli from the Aerospace Research Center announced the plan for a space-based nation in Paris, the same day he became chairman of UNESCO’s Science of Space committee, reports Inverse.
“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.”
The details are still vague, but Ashurbeyli hopes Asgardia will serve as a new legal framework to change the existing Outer Space Treaty of 1967 that regulates all activities in space.
The international team of scientists, engineers, and lawyers who proposed the nation of Asgardia plan to launch a prototype satellite into orbit in fall 2017 and then follow up with a more permanent space station.
Applications for citizenship are now open to the public and once there are 100,000 members of the new nation they can apply to the UN for the status of state. Asgardia officials have promised to automatically accept the first 100,000 people and have even opened up the design of their flag, insignia, and national anthem to denizens of the internet.
The new space nation is also designed to act as a global defense network and destroy or deflect dangerous incoming asteroids, according to the Asgardia website.
“Asgardia will demonstrate to scientists throughout the world that independent, private and unrestricted research is possible.”
Dr. Ashurbeyli said the space-based nation was designed to promote conversations about space law, orbital activity, and astropolitics, and encourage a rethinking of the UN’s Outer Space Treaty of 1967.
The new nation will consist of satellites orbiting around Earth and will act as a demilitarized zone free from the conflicts plaguing ground-based countries, according to ABC.
“Today, many of the problems relating to space law are unresolved and may never be solved in the complex and contradictory dark woods of modern international law. Geopolitical squabbles have a great influence, and are often rooted in the old military history and unresolvable conflicts of countries on Earth.
“It is time to create a new judicial reality in space.”
Asgardia is currently being funded with private donations, but officials of the new nation will soon begin crowd funding. Some experts put cost estimates at hundreds of millions of dollars or even a billion.
There are currently no plans to send people to live on the satellites that will comprise Asgardia, so citizens of the space nation will have to continue living on Earth, according to the Guardian.
“They will be a citizen of their own country and at the same time they will be citizens of Asgardia.”
At the moment, satellites and spacecraft in orbit are the responsibility of the nations that put them there, but Asgardia project leaders hope to change that by creating a new legal platform.
Current activities in space, ownership of celestial bodies, and asteroid mining rights are governed by the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, but many people argue that treaty should be revisited.
The Asgardian effort is not unlike a British doctor’s effort to force a revision of the Outer Space Treaty by selling land on Mars.
Asgardia also pairs nicely with a United Launch Alliance plan to build a space-based economy in low Earth orbit employing thousands of people who live and work in cislunar space.
What do you think of the new proposed space-based nation of Asgardia?
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