For some humans, Earth is not enough and their space-ward journey is filled with passion and aspiration. One such move was unveiled on October 12 by Igor Ashurbeyli, a Russian businessman and nanoscientist who also founded the Vienna-based Aerospace International Research Center and currently Chairman of Unesco’s Science of Space committee.
The afficianados of Asgardia, now 99999 and vying to be 100,000 in a second, seek to form a new space nation that is aimed at fostering peace, opening up access to space technologies and offering protection for citizens of planet Earth. Ever since the announcement was made, the founders are waiting for at least one lakh applicants to the citizenship so they can apply for UN membership.
"For the first time in history a new nation state has been created – not on Earth but in the heavens above," it says about its birth.
“Asgardia” stands for one of the mythical worlds inhabited by the Norse gods. It seeks to become eventually a member of the United Nations, with its own flag and anthem to be finalized by the public and members after conducting series of contests online for its future citizens or aspirants.
The first Nation in Space “will offer an independent platform free from the constraint of a land-based country’s laws,” said the project website.
“For the first time in history a new nation state has been created — not on Earth but in the heavens above,” reads the opening statement on the website asgardia.space. “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,” it says.
However, the project is open ended and any human living on Earth can become a citizen of Asgardia. “You can join like-minded people on this new exciting step in fostering an extended future for humankind,” it assures.
The project is planning to launch a satellite next year but those who aspire to be its citizens, irrespective of their current location and citizenship, can avail the offer. “Physically the citizens of that nation state will be on Earth; they will be living in different countries on Earth, so they will be a citizen of their own country and at the same time they will be citizens of Asgardia,” said Igor Ashurbeyli in his first speech.
He is confident that once the number of applicants reach more than a lakh, they would apply for UN membership. “When the number of those applications goes above 100,000 we can officially apply to the UN for the status of state,” Ashurbeyli said.