Canadian Space Medic Celebrates International Cooperation in Space

As I discussed in an article last week, the I carried several stories about the Asgardia conference in its edition for Wednesday, 16th October 2019. Asgardia is an international organisation dedicated to the colonisation of space, and its establishment as a new, independent nation on the High Frontier. It’s somewhat like the artificial nation created by Laibach and their parent artistic collective, NSK earlier this century. Fans of the group were encouraged to join, receiving a special passport identifying them as citizens of the new state when they did.

The organisation was founded by Igor Raufovich Ashurbekli, the former director of one of the Russian state armament companies. However, Asgardia seems to aim at the peaceful, civilian conquest of space. At the conference Ashurbekli denounced Trump’s intention of establishing a military Space Command, pointing out that this violated the 1967 international treaty against the militarisation of space.

One of the other speakers at the conference was a Canadian medical doctor and astronaut, Dr. Robert Thirsk, who had conducted research in space and hailed space research’s role in bringing people of different, competing nations together in peace. This was reported in an article by Michael Day, ‘Space has to be for everyone’, in the same edition of the newspaper. This ran

As an astronaut who s pent six months on the International Space Station, Canadian medic Dr Robert Thirsk, achieved major medical breakthroughs in zero gravity and survived the thrill of take-off and re-entry. But his greatest satisfaction was working in harmony with colleagues from states that were once Cold War foes.

“I still think that the ISS is a research platform with no earthly peer,” he told Asgardia’s Paving the Road to Living in Space Conference.

“It’s brought together former Cold War enemies to pursue a common vision of extending human capability in space and of inspiring the public to take on some of these tough social problems that we still face today.”

The Asgardia micro-nation, which aims to swell to 150 million citizens within 10 years, is committed to including all nations in the development of space. It’s leaders note that only 20 nations now have space capability.

“At the moment you either have to be a billionaire, friendly with a major space agency or you join Asgardia,” said the space nation’s parliamentary speaker, the former Lib Dem MP Lembit Opik. “Space has to be for everyone.”

As a medical researcher, owrking with American, Russian, Japanese and German colleagues on the ISS, Dr Thirsk achieved breakthroughs in protein chemistry that could lead to new treatments for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and robotic advances that have helped hundreds of cancer patients.

Britain’s first female astronaut, Dr Helen Sharman, made the same comment back in the 1990s after her historic mission with the Russians to their space station, Mir. The Russian station’s name translates as ‘world’ or ‘peace’ in English. Her mission was intended to be a landmark breakthrough in international space cooperation following Mikhail Gorbachev’s glasnost campaign and the attempts to end the Cold War.  In an interview following her mission, Dr Sharman drew attention to the positive benefits of space research in fostering peaceful cooperation between countries. Because of this, astronauts were the least racist people.

It’s interesting to see that Lembit Opik is now Asgardia’s parliamentary speaker. It’s fitting. Opik was not only a Lib Dem MP before losing his seat a few years ago, he’s also the grandson of an Estonian astronomer and himself has an intense interest in space. He was one of the many space experts concerned about the threat of world destruction from asteroid strikes. I met him well over a decade ago at an event on ‘Asteroid Armageddon’ at the Cheltenham Festival of science. He was part of a panel of astronomers and representatives of space corporations, who made it very plain that the threat to our world from rogue asteroids is very real. However, Opik’s justified concern was a source of amusement to the press, who naturally dubbed him ‘the minister for asteroids’. He’s clearly moved into space activism after he lost his seat. I don’t know if he’s still a member, but he’s probably better off with Asgardia than with the Lib Dems, who are now transforming themselves into the Europhile wing of the Tory party.

I also found a plea for the peaceful exploration of space as an alternative to war in a book I read on space technology years ago. This stated that space research provided an outlet for the desire for danger, competition and sacrifice without the mass carnage of conflict. This is true, and regardless of what you make of Asgardia, it has helped bring nations together, and its should be open to everyone, of all nations, in the world.

We don’t need Trump’s – or anyone else’s – dangerous and idiotic space command. We need more peaceful cooperation and the opening up of space and its immense resources and opportunities for all humanity.

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5 Responses to “Canadian Space Medic Celebrates International Cooperation in Space”

  1. trev Says:

    Space exploration then could be similar to sport in that respect, of fulfilling the desire for danger and competition without conflict (though I’m not a sports fan myself as I just find it boring). But what of the database of “non-terrestrial officers” allegedly discovered by hacker Gary McKinnon? Also the theories, allegations and claims that some UFOs are highly advanced man-made crafts produced by the Skunk Works in America, I can’t remember who it was but someone high-up in that organization was quoted as saying that “we now have the technology to take ET home”. All of which implies that there is a secret space programme much more advanced than the one we are led to believe. Alternatively it could all just be Conspiracy theory, in which case the UFOs that people are seeing (myself included) are not man-made.

    • beastrabban Says:

      There is a secret American space programme, although I don’t think it has anything to do with aliens. I’ve found a number of videos on the Net about a secret American spaceplane. This is not crewed, and seems to be used for intelligence work.

      • trev Says:

        There have been rumours for several years of a top secret aircraft/spacecraft (?) called Aurora, and I saw a video documentary (can’t remember which one) that said a mysterious craft, or object, had been tracked on radar travelling at something like 18,000 mph and that it took off from Area 51. There have also been rumours and speculation about a triangular craft called a TR3B, though no one knows for sure if either of these alleged craft really exist.

      • beastrabban Says:

        I’ve heard the rumours about the Aurora spyplane. It was supposed to leave a characteristic contrail, described as looking like ‘doughnuts on a rope’. One was apparently picked up by a spy satellite above Belgium. I hadn’t heard of the TR3B – thanks for that. 🙂 I had heard of the reports of the Black Triangle UFOs, and even met someone in Somerset, who’d seen one over his house.

      • trev Says:

        Perhaps the most famous incident(s) of black triangle craft was the ‘Belgian Wave’ about 30 years ago, though if these were top secret aircraft then nothing has been revealed yet (of further development/implementation) and no one has admitted to illegally test flying them over Belgium (of all places). Very mysterious.

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