Thursday, February 1, 2018

Asgardia wants YOU!

Artwork by James Vaughn.

I saw this last November but I've become such a prisoner of my own oblivescence in the past year that I'm just now blogging it. Sorry.

So I might have this going for me. Asgardia aims to become the first nation-state in space. They are also taking applications for citizenship. Over 100,000 have already applied. The project is the brainchild of Russian scientist Dr Igor Ashurbeyli, who wants a "peaceful society" offering wider access to space technologies and to protect Earth from threats such as asteroids.

To establish a space presence, Asgardia has already launched a "nano-sat"--an object "roughly the size of a loaf of bread"--containing .5 TB of citizens' family photographs and both Asgardia's flag and constitution. Who may apply to be an Asgardian? Per the CNN article:

"Anyone over 18 years old, with an email address, regardless of gender, nationality, race, religion, and financial standing can apply for citizenship -- including ex-convicts, provided they are clear of charges at the time of application."

Hey! That's me! I must say, I admire that egalitarian approach.

Why would anyone sign up for this? Here's a quote from one Asgardian:

"I really want to be able to see if human beings are able to have more opportunity to express their opinions. The society we live in now -- everything seems to be either capitalism or communism -- there's a lot of conflict. As a human being, I would hope (to see) if we could have other ways (of living). For a better life, and for more options."

Amen to that.

Art by James Vaughn.

Right now, all the would-be Asgardians are planted firmly here on Earth. Assemblage of the habitat in low-Earth orbit isn't scheduled for another eight years. But, you may be wondering just how all of this is being funded. Me too. Aside from Ashurbeyli being (ostensibly) a billionaire rocket scientist, the article I found said nothing on the subject. Next step of course was to head to Asgardia's web site.

It doesn't say much either. Behold this point from their FAQ:

"Is Asgardia a commercial project?
Asgardia is the first-ever space nation. As any nation, it will set forth a structure that allows for revenue flow in order to fund its operations."

If it's a nation, then presumably there would be a form of taxation. Unless they're going to attempt a form of purely libertarian existence or perhaps another as yet untried methodology. I may reach out to one their reps and see what else I can find for a future post. Especially after reading this quote from Ashurbeyli:

"[Asgardia is] not a fantasy. Going to Mars, the galactics, so on -- that's just fake. I intend something more real."

Going to Mars is "fake"? It has its hurdles, sure. I would not go so far as to be that dismissive, however.

Asgardian is eventually going to begin the process of becoming recognized as a sovereign state by the United Nations and gain UN membership. This will require approval by the UN Security Council and then a two-thirds vote by the General Assembly. Just how far all of that goes is a fragile prospect at the moment, but think about it: an independent nation in space.

Well, the artist conceptions sure look pretty. As our society continues to become more like a swirling toilet, the idea of an Asgardia certainly has an immediate appeal. They also seem to be cultivating my kind of crowd, namely artists and academics, while also no doubt enough people with the practical and technical mindsets to keep the lights on and, one would hope, air and heat. It is space, after all.

Is this all exciting? Yes. Will it work? I think that's where my cynical side tends to take control.

It's also a tempting opportunity to get away from it all. Maybe I'll apply for citizenship in their sub-orbital nation state. What have I got to lose? Think they'll need writers and professors? I think I already know the answer to that, because if the results are consistent with all of my other applications of the past year, I might as well spare everyone the effort.

I'm starting to remember what it was like to be the kid picked last for dodge ball.

Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets

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