Asgardia: Mythical home to Norse gods like Thor and Loki. But also a future space nation for mere mortals.
Igor Ashurbeyli, a Russian businessman and scientists, announced plans earlier this week to create a new country in space, Asgardia. He's accepting applications for citizenship.
The project is definitely not a joke, but it's also not a country (yet).* It's a multinational scientific and humanitarian project, Ashurbeyli said at a press conference announcing the project in Paris.
"The essence of Asgardia is peace in space, and the prevention of Earth's conflicts being transferred into space," he said.
However, Ashurbeyli said he's working on getting the UN to recognize Asgardia as a nation, which could open up those questions. "Of course, special preference will be given to the first hundred thousand people who apply prior to the launch of the first satellite—and all the typical citizenship procedures that are used on Earth will be followed," he said in his speech. "This does not mean Asgardian citizenship will not be available to all people on Earth, regardless of their earthly jurisdiction."
As of Friday morning, 185,000 people had applied to be Asgardians, according to its website. Ashurbeyli plans to launch its first prototype satellite in 2017 or 2018.
"Modern evolution and intellectual progress can best serve the humanity when decisions are taken primarily on a scientific basis. In the future our children and grandchildren will take for granted what for us is unimaginable," the website reads. "Asgardia will demonstrate to scientists throughout the world that independent, private and unrestricted research is possible."
Asgardia is also holding a flag-designing contest. No word yet on whether the winner gets to hold Thor's mjolnir.
Correction: This article originally said US citizens have to give up their citizenship if they decide to be citizens of another country (like Asgardia, eventually). This was inaccurate since the US does allow dual-citizenship in some cases. No idea if they will allow it for this future space country.