Plans to create the first “nation in space” were unveiled in Paris on Wednesday. They are nothing if not ambitious.
The new nation will launch its own satellite in 2017 and dedicate itself to opening up access to space. The goal is to foster world peace, as well as protect earth from rogue asteroids and space debris.
The new space country will be called “Asgardia,” named for the city in the skies ruled by Norse god Odin.
We aren’t talking about an actual orbiting city or space station where humans will live. Instead, it’s more a scientific, legal and technological experiment being led by Russian nanoscientist Dr. Igor Ashurbeyli, founder of the Aerospace International Research Center and newly appointed chairman of UNESCO’s Science of Space committee.
“Asgardia is also unique from a philosophical aspect — to serve entire humanity and each and everyone, regardless of his or her personal welfare and the prosperity of the country where they happened to be born,” Ashurbeyli said in a release.
A rather simple website for Asgardia launched after a press conference Wednesday to kick off crowdsourcing the new country’s flag, insignia and anthem. It will also allow wannabe Asgardians to register their interest for citizenship. The idea is that once Asgardia has 100,000 people applying for citizenship, it is then eligible to apply to the United Nations for official nation status, according to Ashurbeyli.
Supposedly all Asgardians would remain physically in their current resident nations, but also be citizens of this other country with its sole territory in the galaxy being a satellite circling the Earth. It’s the access to space the satellite represents that is really the point of the whole thing.
“The mission of Asgardia (is) to create opportunities for broader access to space, enabling non-traditional space nations to realize their scientific aspirations is exciting,” said Professor David Alexander, director of the Rice Space Institute at Rice University.
The way space works now is that there’s something called the Outer Space Treaty that most (but not all) nations have signed. It essentially says that whatever country sends a mission to space is then responsible for that mission. So if NASA or an American company like SpaceX sent up a satellite that crashed into and destroyed a Russian satellite, Russia can hold the United States Government accountable.
In turn, this means the US Government has to regulate American companies working in space to avoid such international incidents.
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SOURCE: Cnet, Eric Mack