it has been a while since I wrote my last post but I’ve been quite busy and there haven’t been any news about ASPS work (or better: there is an interesting one but it’s Laureti’s wish to not talk about it, at the moment).
So, while we wait more interesting updates, I would like to write about this curious project: the Space Nation of Asgardia. So, after Elon Musk and his dream to build a 1 million people city on Mars, there is someone who wants to build a real space city in Earth orbit. The founder and the patron of this challenging project is the Russian physicist Igor Ashurbeyli.
As many of you will probably know, Asgard was the abode of the gods of Northern mythology; Ashurbeyli borrowed the name to underline the greater scope of the whole project: on the official webpage we can read that Asgardia will be a totally new nation, which will pursue the following key values:
- to ensure peaceful use of space
- to protect planet Earth from space threats.
- to create a demilitarized and free scientific base of knowledge in space.
The space nation will have everything that a real State needs, like currency, banks, a legitimate government and, obviously, citizens: as I’m writing, almost 234.000 people already applied for Asgardian citizenship.
The project’s philosophy starts at selecting the name for this new country – Asgardia. In ancient Norse mythology, Asgard was a city in the skies, the country of the Gods. It is the realization of man’s eternal dream to leave his cradle on Earth and expand into the Universe.
Asgardia is a fully-fledged and independent nation, and a future member of the United Nations – with all the attributes this status entails: a government and embassies, a flag, a national anthem and insignia, and so on.
The essence of Asgardia is Peace in Space, and the prevention of Earth’s conflicts being transferred into space.
Asgardia is also unique from a philosophical aspect – to serve entire humanity and each and everyone, regardless of his or her personal welfare and the prosperity of the country where they happened to be born.
Asgardia’s philosophical envelope is to ‘digitalise’ the Noosphere, creating a mirror of humanity in space but without Earthly division into states, religions and nations. In Asgardia we are all just Earthlings!
One could think that this is just a deluded man’s utopia but Ashurbeyli can boast an impressive resume, hence his vision might not be so impossible after all..
Today however the dream is far from being realized: not a single component of the city has been launched yet and, for what I’ve understood, not even a concept art of the city exists. Nevertheless the project is ongoing and the first Asgardian satellite, simply called Asgardia-1, is scheduled to launch in September 2017. The satellite won’t be a component of the future city but it’s more like a symbolic settler’s flag on a new territory.
As personal conclusion I find the whole idea very visionary and almost impossible, but yet fascinating. I think that aspiring Asgardians will face tremendous difficulties in building their home in the sky: we don’t know the scale of the project but a space city for 234.000 people will have to be huge, surely the biggest man-made structure ever built outside Earth atmosphere! If we think to how much effort, time and money the most advanced countries in the world have devoted into ISS project, a structure as big as a football field, we can’t help but think to how many chances a few private entrepreneurs have to build a whole city.
For those who agree with the point of view of this blog however the problem is well known: we don’t lack the technology to build a space city, we lack a propulsion system that could cheaply transport tons of material from Earth surface to orbit.
That’s why I think that even if the biggest billionaires in the world joined the forces to complete the project it would take dozens of years and many of the people who applied for Asgardian citizenship would make it in time to die of old age before seeing their dream to become reality.
Nevertheless, even if Asgardia can be seen as an utopia for the moment, the pursue of the project is contributing to build skills and knowledge that could make it real one day, when we’ll have the means to freely move around in space, that is, a powerful and reliable reactionless drive.
After all, it was 1903 when another Russian scientist, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, proposed the use of a rotating wheel to simulate gravity in a space station: almost 115 years have passed and his idea has still to be put into practice but thanks to him today everyone know what shape a space city should have.
Will we ever witness in our lifetime to the rise of the first space nation?
I really hope so.