A group of scientists and legal experts have created a proposal for an independent “first nation in space” called Asgardia – named after one of the mythical worlds inhabited by the Norse gods.
According to their project website
, the aim is to make advances in space technologies and protect citizens of Earth in “an independent platform free from the constraint of a land-based country’s laws”.
The first step in their plan will be to launch the first Asgardia satellite in autumn 2017 – to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the world’s first ever satellite in orbit.
Once the satellite is launched, the group will then start designing a state-of-the-art shield to protect humankind from space debris, asteroids, solar flares and other cosmic threats.
They say Asgardia will eventually become a member of the United Nations – a place in orbit which will be “no man’s land”, complete with its own flag and anthem.
At present, Asgardia’s website is allowing the first 100,000 people to register to become citizens.
Under current United Nations space laws, governments must authorise and supervise space programmes run from their own countries.
But scientists claim Asgardia can get an independent state status if more than 100,000 people sign up to become citizens.
The project team is being led by Dr Igor Ashurbeyli, a Russian scientist and founder of the Aerospace International Research Centre (AIRC) in Vienna.
Ashurbeyli told The Guardian
: “Physically the citizens of that nation state will be on Earth; they will be living in different countries on Earth, so they will be a citizen of their own country and at the same time they will be citizens of Asgardia.
“When the number of those applications goes above 100,000 we can officially apply to the UN for the status of state.”
It is unclear as to whether current space laws would allow a new country to declare itself in space, but so far, hundreds of people have signed up to become Asgardia citizens.