While President Trump has floated the idea of a “Space Force,” an organization is actively taking a different approach to the cosmos—they’re going to live there.
Earth’s got problems
Earth is a wonderful place to live—well, technically speaking, it’s the only place to live, as far as we know. But this big blue and green rock does have a few problems. For one thing, it’s overpopulated, and as a result, we’re increasingly stretched thin on life-sustaining resources such as food and water. This is to say nothing of widespread pollution, how we don’t know what to do with our ever-growing garbage load, and the ever-present threat of war and other divisive political factors.
The nation of Asgardia
Leaders of the nation of Asgardia think they might have the solution. If you’ve never heard of Asgardia, that’s because it’s a brand new country—only founded in October 2016—and it’s actually not an official nation recognized by the world community yet. But its 200,000 avowed “citizens” are probably the most extremely forward-thinking community on Earth.
Goals of Asgardia
Asgardia’s aims are few, but lofty. 1) Amass a population of 150 million citizens (which would make it about the size of Russia). 2) Put all those people on “space arks” powered with artificial gravity and other man-made systems. 3) Then Asgardia would be the first space nation, allowing earthlings to live permanently away from Earth, without all that hassle of finding inhabitable planets, traveling to them, and then colonizing them. Timeline for all of this: Internet-access enabling satellites in orbit within five years, and a launch of those space arks within 15 years. (They also want to establish a moon colony within 25 years.)
The first space nation of the united humankind
At the end of June 2018, Asgardia inaugurated its first head of nation, officially known as the Head of Nation, Igor Ashurbeyli, a Russian-born engineer and businessman. “This day will certainly be recorded in the annals of the greatest events in the history of humankind,” Ashurbeyli said in his inaugural speech to a few hundred people at Hofburg, once the imperial palace of Vienna. Ashurbeyli claims that Asgardia, with its certified constitution and an elected parliament of like-minded individuals, have established “All branches of government.” That led him to declare Asgardia “the first space nation of the united humankind.”
The name makes perfect sense – it’s based on Asgard, the sky world from Norse mythology rendered in realistic detail in the recent Thor movies. None of its population is centralized, but maintain “dual citizenship” with the 200 countries where they actually live. (Asgardian leaders point out that this is more than the U.N.’s 193 member states… meaning they’re more of a united nations than the united nations.)
How to become a citizen
Interested in becoming a citizen of Asgardia and/or living in space some day? All you have to do is register online. It’s free, although annual membership in the nation costs 100 euros ($116). Ashurbeyli says his country is especially looking to attract the world’s most “creative” 2 percent, and that in the future they may institute selection procedures and an IQ test.