Scientists lay down plans for "Asgardia"
A group of scientists have laid down plans for what they say will be a nation-state in space with its own citizenry. While proper, detailed plans for "Asgardia", as they call it, are yet to be drawn out, the leaders of the project said that they would launch Asgardia's first satellite in 2017.
Dr. Ashurbeiyli on Asgardia as a nation
"The essence of Asgardia is peace in space and the prevention of Earth's conflicts being transferred into space. Asgardia is also unique from a philosophical aspect - to serve entire humanity and each and everyone," said the project leader Dr. Ashurbeiyli.
The vision of Asgardia
Named after the Norse gods' haven, Asgard, Asgardia will be a democracy with an emphasis on an individual's freedom to pursue scientific and space research. The project's leader, Dr. Igor Ashurbeiyli, is hoping that the space-nation will be recognized by the UN one day. The Asgardia website states that it seeks to demonstrate that "independent, private and unrestricted research is possible".
Asgardia as defined by its founders
"Asgardia is the prototype of a free and unrestricted society which holds knowledge, intelligence and science at its core along with the recognition of the ultimate value of each human life," states the Asgardia website.
Who can become Asgardian citizens?
While not officially a nation (yet), Asgardia is accepting applications for citizenry from interested people. Applications are being accepted for the first 100,000 Asgardian citizens right now at www.asgardia.space. Applications for becoming an Asgardian citizen comes with no application fee, nor are new citizens expected to contribute to the cost of the first satellite to be launched in late 2017.
Applications for Asgardian citizenship
Since the launch of the Asgardia website, www.asgardia.space, over 260,000 applications have been submitted for Asgardian citizenship.
The legal problems of establishing Asgardia
While engineering Asgardia will definitely not be easy, the project leaders also need to consider the legalities. The legal expert of the Asgardia project said that with a its selected citizens, an inhabited spacecraft to serve as territory, and a functioning government, Asgardia would fulfil three of four UN requirements. However, other legal experts hold that Asgardia would violate the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.
The Outer Space Treaty 1967
During the Cold War, in 1967, the Outer Space Treaty was ratified by 104 nations in order to prevent war in outer space. According to the treaty, no nation-state or country can own territory in outer space - space exploration has to benefit all humankind.
How will such a nation function?
According to Dr. Ashurbeiyli, not all Asgardians would have to live in space. Although the project leaders eventually plan on launching a space station where some of Asgardia's planned 150 million citizens can live and work, the rest of its citizenry can be on earth. It would function similarly to how passport holding nationals of one country live and work in another country.