Asgardia: The First Country in SPACE
As bizarre as and it may sound, plans are seriously underway for the creation of the very first nation… in space. This new nation, called Asgardia, is purporting to be soon recognized as an official member of the United Nations, and calls are now going out for people who wish to become the first citizens of this new nation – to be housed permanently on a to-be-built space station.
Folks, this isn’t science fiction.
Before I get into the nutty politics or science fiction that still does envelope this story, I’d like to first address where the name Asgardia came from.
In the Norse religion, Asgard is one of the Nine Worlds or Nine Realms, the “capital city of the gods”, and home to a tribe of gods ruled by Odin and his wife Frigg (ironic, as the first thing I said out loud after hearing this story was “what the frigg?”, but I digress).
You will recognize the name of the younger son of Odin, who is probably the most famous resident of Asgard today. He made a few hundred million dollars for Hollywood: Thor.
Many of us sci fi fans will also recognize the name from the Stargate television universe. The “Asgard“, as all you Stargate: SG1, Stargate: Atlantis and Stargate: Universe fans will remember, is a benevolent, extremely advanced race of beings from the Ida galaxy that visited earth on many occasions, using the cover of primitive gods (which the TV series’ presumes led to our development of Nordic mythology in the first place), and took the assumed role of protectors of the Milky Way. (Footnote: all three series were filmed for more than a decade right here at Bridge Studios in beautiful Vancouver, Canada – which, in keeping with full disclosure, I have no connection with.)
Asgardia: A Nation In Space
I am very proud today to say that I am the 349,199th person to apply to join the Asgardian nation – and in the 1.5 hours or so that it took to write this article, another 1,600 or so had signed up. They’ll be sending me information apparently on my citizenship application soon. (Please don’t tell the Government of Canada about this, I just paid for a new passport and I’d really like to keep it).
According to their official website:
“For the first time in history, a new nation state has been created – not on earth but in the heavens above. Asgardia is the prototype of a free and unrestricted society which holds knowledge, intelligence and science at its core, along with the recognition of the ultimate value of each human life. You can join like-minded people on this new exciting step in fostering extended future for mankind.“
My first impression – a lot of bong hits went into the development of this concept and website. My second thought – oh crap, they’d be more believable if they didn’t get all their photos from NASA. The earth really has no curvature, dummies. But anyway…
In keeping with the theme of this sci fi/techno article, I have dictated the entire text you are reading on my iPhone SE using iOS 10. I know you space geeks love knowing that. I should add that “Asgardia” is “as guardian” or “ass guard“, according to Siri, Apple’s constantly-yapping-but-never-actually-assisting assistant. And don’t bother correcting her. She won’t budge.
On their official website, they are actually having a contest for the development of their flag, their insignia, and even their anthem – and citizens are invited to participate in contests to develop those key symbols for this new nation.
I would like to submit the song “Space Bound” by Eminem. The lyrics include:
I’m a space bound rocket ship and your heart’s the moon
And I’m aiming right at you
Right at you
Two hundred fifty thousand miles on a clear night in June
And I’m aiming right at you
Millennials will love it. But it’s a bit too rocky if the Queen comes to visit. Maybe John Williams’ theme song for Star Wars. The latter will sound great during medal ceremonies at the Olympics. Although Asgardia has to first get a French equivalent for the athlete’s parade into the stadium.
Winners of the above contests will also be offered the opportunity to contribute their personal message to a time capsule to be placed on the first Asgardian satellite. Meh, not that captivating.
The founding father of Asgardia is Igor Ashurbeyli, head of the Aerospace International Research Center (AIRC) in Vienna and chairman of UNESCO’s science of space committee (both of which, I’m sure, are trying to figure out how to encourage early retirement). He heads the initiative in close collaboration with a group of scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and legal experts apparently. And he looks oddly like Geppetto from Disney’s Pinocchio. If Disney’s version got a haircut. Or he could be Santa’s younger brother.
According to Gepe… oops Ashurbeyli, in the first 40 hours after he announced the birth of the new space nation Asgardia, 100,000 people for more than 200 countries on earth applied to join. 4 days later, he had more than 300,000 applicants. He made this announcement in Paris on October 14.
Therefore we can extrapolate:
- October 6 – launch date
- October 10 – 4 days later – 100,000
- October 14 – 4 days later – 300,000
- October 16 – 2 days later (today) – 351,000+
He had stated that they will continue with registration, aiming to bring together 1 million people. I calculate that, without a major spike in PR, it’s safe to assume that Pinocchio will become a real boy first, Geppetto.
And soon, the founder promises, “we will become a member of the United Nations” (at time of publication, we did not have verification from the United Nations about this possibility). He also wants to create a giant shield to protect Earth from space junk. I’m not making this up.
He states that the top three countries where Asgardians currently reside are China, the United States and Turkey (not sure how the latter would have made the up 3) – virtually guaranteeing that their new nation is going to be “hell on earth…in space”. And they’ll have decent take out food and TV channels.
He signed off his opening speech with this important fact:
“Among more than 240 countries on earth, Asgardia is now number 188 in terms of population. It is between Samoa and Barbados” (we presume he means “in size” not location, as they are not currently in space).
It’s tough to tell if this old guy is actually insane or has some concept behind him – there doesn’t seem to be any sense of where the money’s going to come from to pay for the space station. I also find it hard to believe that any other country on earth is going to recognize this as a “fully fledged and independent nation, with all the attributes of status entailed: a government and embassies, a flag, a national anthem and insignia, and so on.”
Gene Roddenberry had a concept of “space: the final frontier” – and created a whole television and movie empire around it: Star Trek. In tribute, it was reported that Space Shuttle Columbia (mission STS-52) carried a portion of Roddenberry’s cremated remains into space and returned them to Earth.
That’s insane – why weren’t they sent up on the Space Shuttle Enterprise? And why didn’t they just leave them there? And why did they have to tell us it was a “portion” of his remains. Gross.
Maybe this old guy Igor is on to something – or maybe he’s just ON something. But my feeling is, he’s gonna be another pile of space junk in the very near future, hopefully not cluttering up our space highway when we finally, actually, for real (not a hoax like the moon landings) take off for Mars.
And by the way NASA, you’re not fooling me – You’re not getting away with a “bait and switch” to Mars, California, Mars, Nebraska, or Mars, Pennsylvania either. We’re watching you.