A space nation is born, announced Oct. 12 at a press conference in Paris.
Dubbed Asgardia, after the mythological city ruled by the Norse god Odin, the space nation is backed by a project team led by the founder of Vienna's Aerospace International Research Center and one of the most distinguished of scientists in the Russian Federation, Dr. Igor Ashurbeyli, who was also just named chairman of the Science of Space committee at UNESCO.
According to Ashurbeyli, the Asgardia project's concept has three parts: scientific/technological, legal and philosophical. He consulted with experts around the world in developing the space nation's concept.
"Asgardia is a fully-fledged independent nation, and a future member of the United Nations, with all the attributes this status entails," said Ashurbeyli.
He added that Asgardia will be all about peace in space, keeping Earth's conflicts confined to the planet. The space nation will also not discriminate, choosing to serve all of humanity regardless of an individual's personal conditions and the country they are born in.
As a first step in its establishment, Asgardia is looking to launch its first satellite in 2017. Aside from coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the first satellite launch, Asgardia's satellite will signal the beginning of a new era in space as it will be independent of any country currently recognized on Earth.
Of all the nations on the planet, just the U.S., USSR, Japan, France, China, India, the UK, Ukraine, Russia, Iran, Israel and North and South Korea have launched satellites independently.
Asgardia will be following the "Outer Space Treaty" so the satellite it will be launching will be tied to the space nation. One of the early developments being planned by the Asgardia project team as well is the creation of a protective shield that will keep cosmic, natural and man-made threats at bay, like asteroid collisions, coronal mass ejections and space debris.
As the space nation was announced, its official website also went live, offering further details regarding the project and what the public can do to be involved. For starters, there will be a competition for Asgardia's anthem, insignia and flag. Those interested can also register to be one of the space nation's citizens by signing up through the website. According to a press release, just the first 100,000 registrants will be accepted.
Asgardia's establishment is a step away from the current focus on Mars as a new potential home for humans. Aside from gearing up for the trip to the Red Planet, Mars colonization projects are also exploring how to support life on Martian terrain. For example, NASA is seeking to address issues with food by figuring out Martian gardens.