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Asgardia: There’s a ‘space nation’ in making and anyone can be a citizen

The “kingdom” marked its beginning earlier this week by launching a nano satellite, Asgardia-1.

science Updated: Nov 18, 2017 12:48 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Asgardia,Space nation,Ideal societies
Igor Ashurbeyl is funding the creation of Asgardia. (Representative image )

Poets have long thought of creating and living in perfect harmony: ideal communities devoid of Earthly evils such as poverty, classism and violence. That idea is what motivated Russian scientist Igor Ashurbeyl to set about creating a space nation called Asgardia in 2016.

The “kingdom” marked its beginning earlier this week by launching a nano satellite, Asgardia-1, which is barely the size of a loaf of bread.

“I promised there would be a launch,” Ashurbeyl told CNN, “We selected NASA as a reliable partner because we have to meet the commitments that I made 13 months ago.”

The nanosat -- which was aboard NASA’s cargo vessel OA-8 Antares-Cygnus headed to the International Space Station (ISS) -- is carrying 0.5 TB data from 18,000 Asgardian citizens who sent their families’ photographs along with the nation’s flag, constitution and coat of arms, said CNN.

From ISS, Asgardia-1 will be pushed into low-orbit space where it will stay for months before burning out.

Citizenship and ambitions

Asgardia, inspired from a mythological city ‘Asgard’ or the country of Gods that people might recognise from Marvel series Thor, is open for citizenship to anyone above 18. Even convicts cleared of their charges.

Its main aim, it says on its website, is to create a “mirror of humanity in space but without Earthly division into states, religions and nations”.

The United States has the largest number of Asgardians, with over 19,000 members. Among 134,806 citizens, Indians make up about 7,000.

A member, Rayven Sin, was quoted as saying by CNN she signed up to become an Asgardian because she wanted “to be able to see if human beings are able to have more opportunity to express their opinions”.

“The society we live in now -- everything seems to be either capitalism or communism -- there’s a lot of conflict. As a human being, I would hope if we could have other ways. For a better life, and for more options.”

The space nations has also planned to be recognised as a country by the United Nations. For this, the ‘nation’ is working on a constitution, government, currency and territory. “Asgardia’s Constitution has already been accepted; its cryptocurrency, the Solar, is registered at the European Union Intellectual Property Office; and the government formation is underway.”

It has perhaps established a territory by launching the satellite.

Asgardia’s team eventually wants to create habitable platforms in low-Earth orbits, located 161-321km from space, where the International Space Station is.

Without its plans materialising, Asgardia would remain just a utopia.

First Published: Nov 18, 2017 12:47 IST