I’m not entirely sure how I missed this yesterday, but it seems as if someone wants to make the city -sized space station of my novels a reality. Like, for reals for reals.
I don’t quite know how to feel about this. As you might know if you’ve read any of the books in my trilogy, things on Outer Earth didn’t go so well.
Let me backtrack. Yesterday, I got pointed to a fascinating report in New Scientist by Timothy Revell. It talks about a loony Russian scientist, Igor Ashurbeyli, who wants to create the first nation in space. He’s going to call it Asgardia (which, I have to admit, is a pretty damn cool name) and he wants to put people up there.
At least, I think he does. It’s not completely clear. He definitely wants 100,000 people to apply online to become citizens, but he’s strangely silent on plans to actually get people to live on the one satellite he plans to launch.
The idea of starting a nation in space is fraught with difficulties. The team will have to get past roadblocks in international law, and acquire sufficient technology and funding to put a physical entity into orbit. At the moment, the project relies on donations from its founding members.
“What we are setting up is a digital state, but we’re not going to put anyone in space just yet,” said Ashurbeyli. Instead, Asgardia will start off as a single satellite with its citizens scattered across Earth. Aspiring citizens can apply online. Once 100,000 people have signed up, the team will consult the UN on membership.
Exactly what Asgardia’s satellite will look like and where it will launch from has yet to be determined. “Today is just the announcement, but it will happen,” says Ashurbeyli.
Very obviously he’s going to face massive legal hurdles if he ever manages to get this off the ground, so to speak. Who, for example, is going to foot the bill if there is an accident which causes Asgardia to drop out of the sky? The state that launched it? Ashurbeyli himself? Thor Odinson? Who knows?
That’s not all. The dude also wants Asgardia to function as a defence system for incoming asteroids. I don’t see this going wrong at all.
Today is not the first time that Ashurbeyli has come out with an ambitious scheme. Earlier this year, he declared the need for an international space platform to defend Earth from incoming objects. He proposed a Universal Robotic Battle Cosmic Platform, or URBOCOP, which would use on-board weapons to obliterate threatening objects such as asteroids or even missiles launched by one nation against another.
Universal Robotic Battle Cosmic Platform. Say it. SAY IT.
It’s always wonderful when a writer creates something fictional and then sees the real world follow suit. Well, maybe less wonderful for things like flesh eating diseases and psychotic killer robots, but you get what I mean. Sign me up. every nation on earth with the notable exception of Canada is going tits-up, so I may as well give Asgardia a try. Who’s with me?
I’ll tell you one thing. I don’t believe I’d get tired of this view.