With the United Kingdom set to leave the EU next year, some British politicians are looking to join a new international community – but this time in space.
Tory MP Nigel Evans is among the newly elected members of parliament to the self-proclaimed space nation Asgardia, which states its aim as replacing geopolitics with "astro-politics".
Mr Evans, MP for the Ribble Valley constituency, will be joined by former Liberal Democrat MPs Lembit Öpik and Parmjit Singh Gill, as well as 144 members of Parliament for Asgardia.
A 12-point manifesto accompanied Mr Öpik's bid to become a member of parliament for the bizarre venture, citing his 30 years of political experience on Earth and the fact he holds a private pilot's license.
"I'm a realist," he states. "I know what I can do. I hope you'll give me the opportunity [to] dedicate my time and energy to serving Asgardia – our space nation united in our dream for one humanity."
On 25 June, the new MPs will meet in Vienna with diplomats, scientists and engineers involved with the experiment to mark the next formal step in Asgardia's development.
It is being billed by the hosts as the nation's first Parliamentary Summit, where the government and parliament will begin work on the legislative priorities of Asgardia.
Asgardia – named after Asgard, a flying city in ancient Norse mythology – was founded in 2016 by the rocket scientist Igor Ashurbeyli for the purpose of creating equal access to space.
"The essence of Asgardia is peace in space and the prevention of Earth's conflicts being transferred into space," Dr Ashurbeyli said.
Within 20 days of Asgardia being announced in 2016, more than 500,000 people around the world had registered their interest in becoming citizens.
Of those, just over 200,000 have so far been granted citizenship, many of whom appear to be taking it quite seriously, Mr Öpik included.
As his manifesto states: "My dream is to help our species be the very best we can be as citizens of a wonderful planet in a remarkable cosmos.
"I aspire to help Asgardia fulfil its ambition of inhabiting space and reaching for the stars in peace."
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