The self-proclaimed "space kingdom" of Asgardia is currently limited to a glitchy website and a satellite orbiting the Earth about the size of a loaf of bread. But Asgardia wants to be much more than just another micronation: It aims to join the United Nations and eventually send its citizens to lower Earth orbit where they will live on habitable platforms and defend the planet from "space threats" such as asteroids and solar flares. All of this is supposed to happen after Asgardia establishes a parliament from the more than 180,000 people who have registered online as Asgardian citizens, a lax process that in practice requires little more than filling out basic personal details and accepting Asgardia's constitution.
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I have become citizen number 62 of Asgardia, a new space nation dedicated to expanding peaceful exploration of space for the benefit of humanity. It is led by Igor Ashurbeyli, chairman of UNESCO’s Science of Space Committee and founder of the Aerospace International Research Centre in Vienna. At first glance, it’s an amazing concept and surely one that every space scientist should welcome.