Scientists and legal experts have unveiled plans for the "first nation
state in space." The state is called "Asgardia" after one of the
mythical worlds inhabited by the Norse gods, and it will eventually
become a member of the United Nations -- complete with its own flag
and anthem. The Guardian reports: According to the project website,
Asgardia "will offer an independent platform free from the constraint
of a land-based country's laws. It will become a place it in orbit
which is truly 'no man's land.'" Initially, it would seem, this new
nation will consist of a single satellite, scheduled to be launched
next year, with its citizens residing firmly on terra firma. Speaking
to the Guardian through an interpreter, the project lead Igor
Ashurbeyli, said: "Physically the citizens of that nation state will
be on Earth; they will be living on 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," he added. According to the project website, "Any human living
on Earth can become a citizen of Asgardia," with the site featuring a
simple registration form. At the time of writing more than 1000
individuals had already signed up. At present, the Outer Space Treaty
that underpins international space law states that responsibility and
liability for objects sent into space lies with the nation that
launched them. But the project team claims that Asgardia will set a
new precedent, shifting responsibility to the new "space nation"
itself. "The existing state agencies represent interests of their own
countries and there are not so many countries in the world that have
those space agencies," said Ashurbeyli. "The ultimate aim is to create
a legal platform to ensure protection of planet Earth and to provide
access to space technologies for those who do not have that access at
the moment."

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