International News

500,000 Apply for Citizenship in Utopian ‘Space Nation’ Asgardia

By Chaimaa Zahaar

Rabat - Since Russian scientist Igor Ashurbeyli announced plans to launch the first outer-space nation last year, more than 500,000 requests have been submitted to “join” the nation by storing personal data in a satellite.

The website of the nation, named Asgardia, has received more than 500,000 applicants from different nations, religions, and backgrounds. Anyone over the age of 18 has been invited welcomed to join the futuristic nation, including ex-convicts.

For those who missed the hype, in October 2016 Ashurbeyli announced his ambitious plan to create a floating nation in space free of the laws and regulations that currently govern travel in spatial and land-based nation-states. The self-proclaimed “first nation in space” is now ready to receive applications.

Initially, it was agreed that 100,000 candidates would be granted citizenship of Asgardia. Since then, in response to an influx of interest, the Asgardian team has recently expanded its plans to allow more than one million people to participate in the early stages of their project. A first step towards a material existence will be achieved in the fall with the launch in orbit of an initial experimental satellite forlong-term data storage.

“We can assert, the Asgardian nation will be in space this year,” said Jeffrey Manber, CEO of Nano Racks, the small satellite production company that will manufacture Asgardia-1, at a conference held June 13in Hong Kong. This nano satellite will be “the size of a loaf of bread, will weigh about as much as a newborn, and [will] carry data loaded by the citizens of Asgardia.”

After agreeing on a “constitution,” Asgardians will be encouraged to send their files into space. “The first 100,000 Asgardian citizens will be able to send up to 500 KB of data each to Asgardia-1. The next 400,000 Asgardians will be able to send up to 200 KB. The next million citizens will be able to send up to 100 KB each. After that, the free storage will be closed,” Ashurbeyli clarified at the press conference.

They are very small storage areas, but will be kept “as long as Asgardia will exist,” assured the researcher. “In other words, forever.”

On 18 June, the Asgardian flag, the insignia and the national anthem will be voted upon and adopted.




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