Wait, wasn’t this the plot of Elysium? It sounds as though the idea was pulled straight from a Hollywood movie script, but Russian billionaire Igor Ashurbeyl is really, in actuality, building a “Noah’s Ark” in space for 15 million Earthlings to escape Earth and begin a brand new civilization on space arks.
The cosmic endeavor, although still in its early stages, has already accrued 300,000 sign-ups from hopefuls who want to become citizens of Asgardia (yes, that is the space colony’s real name), and has formed its own flag, national anthem, and parliamentary committee. Believing that Earth will eventually be destroyed either by its own people or the explosion of the sun, Ashurbeyl plans to recruit the most creative people on the planet, and then whisk them away to begin their lives in space, where they will be safe from the ruined Earth and - somehow - the exploding sun.
Will the colony of Asgardia actually get off the ground? Check out all the details surrounding Ashurbeyl’s visionary outer space community, including how soon he hopes to load inhabitants into his arks, in the article below originally published by The Sun:
Russian billionaire plans to create floating ‘Noah’s Ark in SPACE’ with 15 million Earthlings on board
A Russian billionaire is bankrolling a bonkers project to build the world's first country based entirely in space.
The nation of Asgardia plans to send millions of Earthlings up to live on giant orbiting space arks to escape the chaos as humanity "wipes itself out" in the coming decades.
The Sci-Fi community has its own flag and national anthem, and nearly 300,000 people have signed up to become citizens online.
Speaking to the Sun, one of Asgardia's top ambassadors argued that humanity must leave Earth to save itself.
"To save the planet, eventually we will have to leave it," said Lena de Winne, Asgardia’s Minister of Communications.
"Humanity will either wipe itself out or the Sun will explode. By then humankind needs to have flown off."
Founded in 2016, Asgardia is the brainchild of Azeri-Russian tycoon Igor Ashurbeyli.
Its plan involve housing up to 15 million Earthlings in “cosmic Noah’s arks” orbiting Earth.
Each ring-shaped craft will cost £100billion to build and boast luxury high-tech living standards fit for the world's first space citizens.
Asgardia hopes to get its project going by 2045 with the birth of the first space baby.
"Asgardia wants to be a part of the birth of the first human in space," Lena told The Sun.
"They will be Asgardian. We believe this will be done within the next 25 years."
It sounds like something out of a Sci-Fi film, but it's a totally serious project, and the new country's founders are even trying to get Asgardia recognised by the UN.
The dream is to recruit the "most creative" people on Earth as Asgardian citizens and then leave the planet behind forever - giving members a safe haven from nuclear war, drought or other environmental catastrophes here.
To become an official citizen, you just need to give a few basic personal details, as well as some information about your education, and then wait for your request to be approved.
It'll cost you about £90 to sign up – a small price to pay to save yourself from humanity's apparent impending doom.
Citizens from over 200 territories have applied to become Asgardians, and its current citizen count makes it the 172nd largest country in the world.
Within 10 years, Asgardia's leaders hope to have recruited 150 million people, and the dream is that the first ark - a satellite like the International Space Station - will be able to launch within a few decades' time.
In the mean time, it's held elections for its parliamentary committee and even sent a small satellite, Asgardia-1, into Earth's orbit.
Former Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik was elected as the chairman of the Parliament of Asgardia during its first session in Vienna, Austria.
Other British members of parliament include Tory Brexiteer Nigel Evans, who chairs the Asgardian parliament’s foreign affairs committee, and Philip Appleby, a former Ministry of Defence official and police officer who's the nation's Minister of Safety and Security.
It certainly all sounds very exciting, but Asgardia does not come without its critics.
One legal expert argues that the plans don't have any basis in reality.
"Legally speaking this is much ado about nothing," Frans von der Dunk, a professor of space law at Nebraska College of Law, told Business Insider in 2017.
"The concept of territory has been pretty well defined in international law, and it does not include 'artificial' territory such as satellites anymore than it does include ships, aircraft or oil platforms."
Asgardia, he added, is "nowhere near a state in the classic sense of the word — even if you accept that the satellite has quasi-territory."
This is not the first time this year we’ve heard about a billionaire seeking to create his own self-sustaining technological civilization : a Saudi Prince is also reportedly building his own city full of artificial rain, government surveillance, and human gene editing. Are these enterprising colonies just the wishful thinking of rich science fiction fanatics, or will they become the way of the future - at least for those of us who will be chosen to join them? Discuss with us in the comments!