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SCIENCE FOCUS: Welcome to Asgardia - the cryptocurrency-funded nation with eyes on the Moon

In ancient Norse mythology, Asgard, home to the gods, was a city in the sky – now a group of regular people on planet Earth have a project to build a whole nation in space.

From its inception in October 2016, distinguished aerospace scientist Dr Igor Ashurbeyli had three goals in mind when he created the world’s first nation to colonise space; protect the Earth from space hazards (such as asteroids and solar flares), ensure a peaceful use of space, and create a demilitarised and free scientific base of knowledge in space.

On 25 June 2018, in the lavish Hofburg palace of Vienna, those goals took one step forward, with the inauguration of Dr Ashurbeyli as Asgardia’s first Head of Nation.

“Access to outer space should be a human right, beyond the control of any Earthly nation,” he said, addressing a crowd of Asgardian citizens there to witness this historic moment. “To safeguard humanity’s future, Asgardia is taking steps into the vast space frontier as the very first space nation.”

It’s a bold vision for the future of humanity, not limited to just those with a penchant for science fiction, gathering more than 200,000 sign-ups for Asgardian citizenship since 2016 (nearly 7,000 of which from the UK). They all share the same excitement for Dr. Ashurbeyli’s plan, but should you?