It may sound fantastical, but don’t dismiss the idea so quickly: one Russian billionaire is planning a community in space to save all of humanity—and it’s less far-fetched than you might think. But the project may be over before it even begins because of an existing law that governs space sovereignty.
Sure, it sounds like a good sci-fi movie, but one Russian billionaire’s plan to create a society in space by a group known as Asgardia may one day save all of humanity—if it can overcome some serious legal hurdles.
Igor Ashurbeyli, a Russian tycoon worth billions, has launched a project known as Asgardia-1 to save humanity.
In 2017, Ashurbeyli launched a satellite into low-earth orbit with the hopes of one day creating a space community that will house 15 million people. When that satellite made it into orbit, Ashurbeyli laid claim to the space—a little prematurely, as it turns out.
Asgardia has made even more progress beyond the satellite launch, from drafting its constitution to choosing its own government and unveiling its plans to build a fleet of “cosmic Noah’s arks” that will orbit the earth.
The cost? A steep $110 billion (100 billion euros) each. The funding will come in part from its “Primary Asgardians” who have signed up to live on one of the arks. Each would-be member had to cough up $1100 for formal citizenship and a passport to Asgardia. The group is also seeking $1.1 billion each from seven unnamed primary investors. The money will be used to pay for research and institution-building.
The Space Nation already has over 18,000 “residents” willing to climb aboard. Related: Gold Is Beating Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway
The project comes across as a mix of awesomeness and craziness, and Asgardia will face some pretty tough obstacles, aside from the technical know-how and implementation of a total space society.
One of these challenges is the Outer Space Treaty, which was signed in the late ‘60s by over 100 countries, including powerhouses such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and the then-Soviet Union. The treaty says that outer space is not subject to national appropriation by a claim of sovereignty. It also says that non-governmental entities in outer space need authorization and supervision by the appropriate country that is part of the Treaty.
Despite the legal challenges, the plan is turning heads.
Asgardia is holding a convention next month in Germany, and the attendees include “senior figures from City investment houses, universities including MIT, executives from organisations such as British defence contractor QinetiQ, and former NASA employees,” according to Express.
Throw in Thor, and there’s likely to be a run on citizenship.
By Julianne Geiger for conil.me
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