Ever wanted to jack all this Earth nonsense in and live in space instead? You're not alone. Over the last year or so, about 200,000 people have registered to become citizens of Asgardia, a self-proclaimed 'space nation'.
The scheme is the brainchild of Igor Ashurbeyli, a Russian businessman and scientist who seems to have both money and time on his hands. When he announced the founding of the nation, last August, the press was understandably skeptical that any aspect of the project would ever get off the ground – not least because it's prohibited under international law.
But that hasn't stopped Ashurbeyli, who's now announced that Asgardia will be launching its first satellite in August. Don't get too excited though – it's a CubeSat, measuring just 10x10x20cm and weighing 2.8kg, and it'll carry nothing but data.
What data? Well, that's up to the Asgardians. The first 100,000 people to sign up will be able to store 300KB. The next 400,000 will get 200KB, and a further million will be offered 100KB.
New space era
“Sixty years after the launch of the first ever artificial satellite, Sputnik, our own space satellite, Asgardia-1 will mark the beginning of a new space era, taking our citizens into space in virtual form, at first," said Ashurbeyli.
"Asgardia-1 will contain data stored for free for up to 1.5 million Asgardians on board the satellite. These are historic days, and your names and data will forever stay in the memory of the new space humanity, as they will be reinstalled on every new Asgardia satellite we launch."
The satellite, Ashurbeyli says, will comprise the nation itself – complete with its own constitution, flag and other symbols of nationhood. The constitution will go up for voting for citizens on the project's website, asgardia.space, today.
“Asgardia-1 is our first, small step which we hope will lead to a giant leap forward for mankind," said Ashurbeyli.
"It will be our foundation stone, from which we will look to create a network of satellites that will help protect our planet against asteroids, solar flares, man-made space debris, and other space hazards.”