Inside the Quest to Create the Nation of 'Asgardia'
You can become a citizen of it, but you won't be able to leave Earth
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2016 8:11 AM CDT
A screenshot of the Asgardia site, which features a rendering of the proposed satellite.   (Asgardia website)

(Newser) – If your chosen candidate doesn't win on Nov. 8, there's perhaps no need to decamp to Canada or Russia: Become a citizen of Asgardia instead. That's the name of the newly proposed "first nation state in space." Named after a world in Norse mythology that's located in the sky, the would-be extraterrestrial state stems from a project led by Russian scientist Igor Ashurbeyli, who heads UNESCO's Science of Space committee, reports the Telegraph. There's no terra firma for Asgardian citizens to travel to: The Guardian reports Asgardia appears to "consist of a single satellite," planned to be launched by the project next year. Ashurbeyli explains "physically the citizens of that nation state will be on Earth," meaning they'll be a citizen of their own country and Asgardia simultaneously.

CNET frames Asgardia as a "scientific, legal, and technological experiment," with Ashurbeyli planning to petition the UN for the status of state once 100,000 people have applied to be citizens on the Asgardia website, which launched Wednesday. Among the project's ambitious goals: to create a state-of-the-art protective shield to keep space debris and asteroids from reaching Earth's surface. Space regulation is another focus: Since the late 1960s, the Outer Space Treaty has assigned liability for objects sent into space on the nation launching them. Asgardia could in theory "do an end-run around government regulations that are a key part of making the treaty work by forming a new government accountable to nobody but the space enthusiasts that formed it," observes CNET. (See what NASA did in space earlier this year.)
 

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