In Earth’s orbit, at 400 km above ground, a new state will begin taking shape on Saturday through a worldwide popularity contest. Asgardia, Igor Ashurbeyli’s Norse-inspired space nation, will be voting for its elected representatives today.
Mr Ashurbeyli is the chair of UNESCO’s Science of Space Committee and founded Asgardia in October 2016 via radio podcast in a call for peoples of the world to abandon their Earthly squabbles and look towards the sky. Although there are no concrete plans to move any Asgardians into their theoretical new territory, a cube satellite with be launched at the end of 2017 with the Asgardian constitution, as well as data from each of its over 200,000 citizens.
Asgardians are not obligated to abandon their earth-based nationality to vote for each other; plans for the new state reflect instead the growing allure of internationalism and other-worldly utopias in light of underrepresentation and unequal governance at home. As SpaceX tests two rocket launches in 48 hours this weekend, however, the feasibility of private space enterprises will be visible even from miles above earth.