Science News

A Proposed Nation In Space Called Asgardia Now Has 90,000 ‘Citizens’

Photo from Asgardia's website

In a scene that seems to come straight out of a science-fiction movie, a group of scientists have announced that they will be creating a new pacifist nation in outer space. And in an even more fiction-based twist, the name of this ambitious project is Asgardia – taken from Asgard, home of the mythological Norse gods.

Marvel’s Thor movie locations aside, this new, so-called nation aims to launch its first satellite by next year. It also hopes to gain recognition from the United Nations, BBC reports.

Directed and funded by the Aerospace International Research Center in Vienna, the project was founded by Igor Ashurbeiyli, a Russian scientist and businessman. At a press conference, Ashurbeiyli openly joked about how he was probably being perceived as “crazy” and talking “utter nonsense.”

But he and his team are quite serious about Asgardia, which “will offer an independent platform free from the constraint of a land-based country’s laws.”

Lena de Winne, a senior member on the team and formerly of the European Space Agency, says that those who wish to become citizens of Asgardia will undergo scrutiny and receive passports. As of now, over 90,000 people have signed on to join the nation.

Experts and critics alike are highly doubtful about the plan, as international law does not allow any national sovereignty claims in space. Professor Sa’id Mosteshar, director of the London Institute of Space Policy and Law, says recognition will most likely not be granted, as long as the “citizens” remain on Earth. “The Outer Space Treaty… accepted by everybody says very clearly that no part of outer space can be appropriated by any state,” he explained.

But the novelty of the idea seems to have caught public attention. Competitions are now underway to decide on a national anthem and flag for the proposed nation-state, and the scientists behind the project say that they will soon seek crowdfunding to finance their idea.

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