The first SPACE NATION is revealed: 'Asgardia' will defend the Earth against deadly attacks from asteroids - and now you can sign up to be a citizen
It might seem like an idea taken straight out of science fiction, but a 'space nation' could soon become a reality.
At least, that is if plans developed by an international group of scientists, announced today, go ahead.
The team has announced it will kick-start the independent nation, which it has dubbed Asgardia, by launching a satellite next year.
People can sign up to become a citizen on the Asgardia project website, but only the first 100,000 will become citizens.
The project is creating a new framework for ownership and nationhood in space, by creating a completely new nation, according to the project leaders.
The team, led by Dr Igor Ashurbeyli, founder of the Aerospace International Research Center, unveiled the bizarre plans at a press conference today in Paris.
One of the early developments planned by the team will be the creation of a state-of-the-art protective shield for all humankind.
This will protect the world from cosmic threats, both man-made and natural, to life on earth.
This includes space debris, solar flares and asteroid collisions, the researchers say.
There are estimated to be more than 20,000 traceable objects of man-made space junk, including old spacecraft, upper-stage rockets and final stage vehicles in near-Earth orbits.
Natural objects in space also pose a threat to life on the planet.
For example. the impact of the Chelyabinsk meteorite which crashed over a major Russian town in 2013, injuring 1,100 people and damaging 4,000 buildings.
'The project's concept comprises three parts – philosophical, legal and scientific/technological,' said Dr Igor Ashurbeyli.
'Asgardia is a fully-fledged and independent nation, and a future member of the United Nations - with all the attributes this status entails.'
'The essence of Asgardia is Peace in Space, and the prevention of Earth's conflicts being transferred into space,' Dr Ashurbeyli said.
The launch of the first Asgardia satellite is planned for 2017, and the scientists hope the project will develop from there.
When it is launched, the satellite will enter a low-earth orbit.
'As low-earth orbit becomes more accessible, what's often called the 'democratisation'of space, a pathway is opening up to new ideas and approaches from a rich diversity of participants,' said Professor David Alexander, Director of the Rice Space Institute at Rice University, Houston, Texas.
ASGARDIA: THE FIRST SPACE NATION
Asgardia is the first 'space nation'.
The name comes from the city of the skies ruled by Odin from Valhalla in Norse mythology.
It is described as 'a fully-fledged and independent nation, and a future member of the United Nations'.
The Asgardia Project Team is made up of experts from around the globe.
The project team is being led by Dr Igor Ashurbeyli, a Russian scientist and founder of the Aerospace International Research Center (AIRC) in Vienna.
Yesterday, he became chairman of UNESCO’s ‘Science of Space’ committee.
By creating a new space nation, the experts behind the project hope to be able to develop future space technology free from the restrictions of state control.
The first Asgardia satellite is planned to be launched in autumn 2017.
One of Asgardia's first projects will be the creation of a protective shield to protect humankind from space debris, including asteroids.
The project will involve members of the public by running competitions to help design the nation's flag and insignia.
Asgardia's website will allow the first 100,000 people to register to become citizens of the new space nation.
The mission of Asgardia to create opportunities for broader access to space, enabling non-traditional space nations to realise their scientific aspirations is exciting.'
The researchers hope by creating this 'space nation', they will start a new framework for ownership and nationhood in space.
'An appropriate and unique global space legal regime is indispensable for governing outer space in order to ensure it is explored on a sustainable basis for exclusively peaceful purposes and to the benefit of all humanity, including future generations living on planet earth and in outer space,' said Professor Ram Jakhu, Director, Institute of Air and Space Law at McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
'The development of foundational principles of such a legal regime ought to take place at the same time as technological progress is being made.'