There is a new country being formed called Asgardia, named after Norse mythology's city in the skies. Asgardia could be the first nation ever formed in space. The plan is to get on a mission to mine asteroids and protect Earth from dangerous meteorites, space debris, and other threats (like aliens). That is, if all goes according to an unclear, open-ended, and bold plan put forth by its founders.
|Image Credit: James Vaughan/Asgardia|
The people working on the Asgardia project includes space specialists based out of Canada, Romania, Russia, and the United States, and they publicized their independent goals from a press conference in Paris on Wednesday.
Their fundamental goal is to send a robotic satellite in less than next 18 months, then ultimately follow up with a stable space station, as one founding associate told Business Insider:
"Where people can live, work, and have their own rules and regulations"
The hope is to "democratize space", as they say.
Eventually, the organizers foresee Asgardians constructing "a state-of-the-art protective shield for all humankind from cosmic manmade and natural threats to life on earth such as space debris, coronal mass ejections, and asteroid collisions", according to their press release.
The director of McGill University's Institute of Air and Space Law and an Asgardia project founding member, Ram Jakhu, told Business Insider:
"We must leave [Earth] because it's very much in the nature of humanity. Humanity left Africa and covered the whole globe. The resources of Earth will be depleted. Third, I would say, we have a wish to go where nobody has gone before."
So, what’s Asgardia really?
Timothy Wild, a representative for the group, would not reveal how many scientists or other experts are presently associated with the project but according to BussinesInsider there are at least five so far.
Creator of the Aerospace International Research Centre (AIRC) in Russia and the present chairman of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) 'science of space' committee- Igor Ashurbeyli.
David Alexander - director of Rice University's Space Institute.
Ram Jakhu - director of the Institute of Air and Space Law at McGill University.
Joseph N. Pelton - director of the Space and Advanced Communications Research Institute (SACRI) at George Washington University.
Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu - a Romanian cosmonaut.
According to Timothy Wild, the project is currently in its "initial stages" and is expecting the early promotional stuff will attract engineers, researchers, and other talent.
Timothy Wild said:
"What we're doing now is a call to arms, so we want to widen the net,"
Timothy Wild also added that in addition to experts, Asgardia is open to you to join its ranks.
The press release stated:
"[T]he site will allow the first 100,000 people to register to become citizens of Asgardia alongside their nationality on [E]arth,".
So How Is this Project Going To Be Funded?
The creators won’t reveal the organization’s present funding level but claimed Ashurbeyli himself had added a considerable amount of money to get the Asgardia mission alive and going.
"We're absolutely confident the satellite will launch within 18 months. But in terms of absolute numbers [of money], we're not there yet."
One thing is sure that they will likely need tens of millions of dollars to take initial steps, and possibly billions to withstand itself.
Just to put into perspective, it took 18 nations and almost US$100 billion to construct and control the International Space Station (ISS).
So the question is can you actually form a new nation in space?
In a press release, Ashurbeyli said:
"Asgardia is a fully-fledged and independent nation, and a future member of the United Nations - with all the attributes this status entails."
Nonetheless, according to present international space law, the country that sends an object into space is accountable for it, including any destruction it causes to residents of Earth.
The organization said:
"The project is creating a new framework for ownership and nationhood in space, which will adapt current outer space laws governing responsibility, private ownership and enterprise so they are fit for purpose in the new era of space exploration. By creating a new Space Nation, private enterprise, innovation and the further development of space technology to support humanity will flourish free from the tight restrictions of state control that currently exist."
Organization claims that it will be an independent nation.
Ram Jakhu said:
"I'm sure people will ridicule [Asgardia], but I'm not worried. Anyone who tries out-of-the-box things is initially ridiculed," Jakhu said. "Everything that's amazing starts with a crazy idea. After a while science fiction becomes science fact, and this is an idea which is just being initiated.”
You can join Asgardia here. Do let us know what do you guys think about this project in the comments below.