Ex-MP Lembit Opik hoping to make an impact in space

By Nina Massey, PA Science Correspondent in Darmstadt, Germany

A former MP has ticked off everything on his earthly “political bucket list”, and says now the rest of the universe remains.

Lembit Opik, an ex-Liberal Democrat MP, is chairman of parliament for space nation Asgardia.

He has politically achieved all he wants to on earth, and is now hoping to make an impact in space.

Speaking at Asgardia’s first Space Science and Investment Congress in Darmstadt, Germany, he said he has got the job he wants.

Mr Opik told the PA news agency: “I’ve achieved my terrestrial political bucket list. The only thing that’s left is the rest of the universe.

“And being chair, the first chair of Parliament for the first space nation for the human race is special.

“I want to create a political system that defaults to stability under stress, which would make it a lot more stable than many advanced and mature political systems on earth.

“I want to facilitate an economic system, which generates the funds we need to create the government for human habitation.”

Drawing on his time as an MP, Mr Obik said the two sets of politics had very little in common.

He: “Asgardia and British politics have only got one thing in common – they’re both trying to leave.

“But the way things are going, Asgardians are more likely to leave before the United Kingdom.

“The truth is I don’t think that human politics does a terrible job – that may be an unpopular view, but we get more right than we get wrong.”

Asgardia aims to find a way to continue the human race outside of earth.

It wants the first birth in space, and to create the first permanent space habitation. The nation was founded in 2016 by Russian scientist Igor Ashurbeyli.

Mr Obik said he does not sense a great deal of self-importance or egotism among the parliamentary Asgardia, or among the population of around 20,000 residents and more than one million followers.

He added: “I would say that the two defining qualities of the outlook in Asgardia are aspiration and curiosity.

“I was in British Parliament, and I would say neither of those two qualities was prevalent.

“In British politics the two prevailing qualities were self-promotion, and a lack of generosity of spirit – it is quite the opposite from Asgardia.”