So this week was apparently the beginning of what we’re told is a serious effort to create a city in space.
The Asgardia-1 satellite is the first step in billionaire Russian computer scientist Igor Ashurbeyli’s dream to create a space station that will hold roughly 200,000 people and “be free from politics and laws.”
I think even Captain Kirk would agree that’s an attempt to boldly go where no one has gone before. Imagine roughly the same number of people that live in Mobile floating quietly overhead in their own little space station world — a world where people are free from politics and laws. It sounds great, but I’m not really sure how the lack of gravity will cause people to stop acting like idiots who fight over politics, race and football teams and need laws to keep from driving one another crazy. Then again I’m not a billionaire Russian scientist, so I’m probably missing something.
The launch this week of Asgardia-1 didn’t actually start the building of the satellite that will eventually become known as Asgardia, but rather just carried personal information for about 18,000 of its future citizens, including family photographs, into space for some reason I don’t really understand. Asgardia-1 is only about the size of a loaf of hearty Russian bread and it also carries a copy of Asgardia’s flag and constitution, according to news reports. Sounds promising.
But I’m already seeing a hole in some of Ashurbeyli’s reasoning — and I’m sure most of you do too. If there are no laws, then why have a constitution? And why have a flag if there’s no breeze in which it may wave? Maybe I’m just being nitpicky.
I find it difficult to believe so many people are itching to go live in a space station. Frankly it sounds terrible to me — trapped in space with the same 199,999 people, year after year. No weather. No beach. No drive-thrus. How long could it possibly be before all the rednecks moved to one part of the station and seriously trashed it up?
But I must be in the minority because more than 500,000 people applied to become residents of Asgardia!
Maybe conditions here on Earth have become so irritating that the idea of floating around in a satellite with a couple hundred thousand other people is more appealing than the thought of having to drive to work tomorrow or going to a barely tolerated relative’s house for Thanksgiving or watching another 56-0 football game.
I could maybe get the popularity of this concept if Asgardia was actually going somewhere. If we all ended up on Mars in 10 years and could get off the ship and start pillaging and using up all the natural resources, that could be fun. Just flying around and around Earth seems really boring. Big Ben, Parliament.
Most of all, though, I’m skeptical this huge group of people could make it with no laws or politics. OK, Dr. Ashurbeyli, are you telling me there wouldn’t be laws against hitting golf balls through the windows that protect everyone from the vacuum of space, or that it would be OK to prank call Earth and tell them you see a giant crack opening up in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and that everyone is about to die?
Surely there will eventually be conflict between some of these thousands of space citizens. If there are no leaders, or government entities, who is going to sort it out when one Asgardian steals another’s copy of the “Star Wars” DVD box set? Exactly.
Given human nature, there’s almost no way to avoid the necessity of laws, which means the necessity of people to pass laws, which means (gasp!) politicians in space!
And maybe that’s how old Dr. Ashurbeyli ought to approach this whole floating city idea. Instead of trying to gather up people to float around in space because they’re tired of politics and dumb laws, maybe it makes more sense to send the people causing all this irritation to Asgardia so they’ll leave the rest of us to enjoy all Earth has to offer without the ridiculousness we’ve become used to over the past few years. Let’s send 200,000 politicians to live in space.
Really, the idea is pretty soothing. Imagine if Trump, Hillary, Roy Moore and Schumer and all the idiots on Capitol Hill were tucked safely away miles above our heads. It would be so quiet here on terra firma. We could make it truly international and send Putin and all the other world’s dictators, kings, premiers and chieftains there as well.
Of course most of these power-mad folks wouldn’t go willingly since they’ve got swank jobs here on Earth, so we’d probably have to vote them off the island, so to speak. That would serve as a great incentive for the politicos still hanging around Earth to shape up and do their jobs without a bunch of nonsense.
I bet Mobile’s City Council could figure out how to elect a new council president in a hurry if they thought exile to Asgardia was a possibility.
It seems like a foregone conclusion that Alabama would have an inordinate percentage of exiled politicians banished to live in space, but maybe we could make it somewhat enticing by putting a Red Lobster and Golden Corral up there, and throw in some Montgomery lobbyists with unlimited expense accounts. Oooh, maybe there should be a shopping mall too! I bet Roy Moore would like that. He might go voluntarily.
To really be fair, I suppose a fair number of journalists would probably need to go up there to cover all our most famous politicians. It might be best, though, if we don’t equip the space station with a very good phone plan.
Just imagine all the irritating politicians just being a bright dot in the sky going by at night, sexually harassing one another, tweeting snarky comments to one another and fighting to get the upper hand. It would feel good knowing several miles of cold, dead space and atmosphere lay between them and the rest of us.
Let’s hope Dr. Ashurbeyli is open to flipping the script a bit here — and then that he can get the station built before the next presidential election.