Russian scientist Igor Ashurbeyli wants to establish the first ever nation in outer space. So he started Asgardia — a proposal to build, launch, and turn the damn thing into reality. Should Ashurbeyli ever pull it off, Asgardia would be a platform in Earth’s orbit in which people could live and work, as well as a place to help establish the defense of Earth from meteorites, space debris, and perhaps even human weapons being operated by hostile human forces themselves.
Since announcing Asgardia last October, however, Ashurbeyli has barely provided any glimpse into what the heck this is actually supposed to look like. So it was a pleasant surprise to see Ashurbeyli announce Tuesday that Asgardia was opening up citizenship enrollment starting immediately, and making plans for its first satellite launch later this year.
That launch will fire up a small hard drive into orbit, which will contain the first 100,000 citizens’ personal data.
“Your names and data,” Ashurbeyli said at a press conference Tuesday, “will forever stay in the memory of the new space humanity, as they will be reinstalled on every following Asgardia satellite, orbital satellite constellation … not only in the near space but also on the moon, and anywhere in the universe wherever Asgardia will be.”
Each citizen would basically provide up to 300 kilobytes of essential identification information, plus whatever data they want to send into space. The launch would occur sometime in September — the hard drive, a 512 gigabyte, solid-state drive, would be contained in a small CubeSat deployed from Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo ship, which will be heading to the International Space Station as part of a cargo resupply mission.
“What comes to mind? Maybe the photo of your little cat, or of your neighbor, or your mother, or your child,” Ashurbeyli said. “Whatever comes to your mind … this will be for as long as Asgardia exists. In other words: forever.”
On June 18, the Asgardia community will be tasked with voting on a Declaration of Unity, the Constitution of Asgardia, Asgardia’s flag, its coat of arms, and national anthem. Within six months, Ashurbeyli will seek to get the first Asgardian Parliament organized and formed.
If all of this sounds crazy, that’s because it pretty much is. But given the current state of the world, it’s probably worth keeping an eye out to see if this whole “space nation” thing works out.