(Courtesy of Oskar Pernefeldt)

Fans of science fiction will tell you it’s only a matter of time. One day, maybe even in the not-so-distant future, the world will no longer be divided by the silly squabbles and flimsy borders of nations.

Instead, perhaps beginning with the Terran Federation of Robert Heinlein’s best-selling “Starship Troopers,” we have long imagined a vast, all-encompassing unitary state representing our planet on the galactic stage. Why cling to your petty patriotism when you’re really just a tiny speck in the cosmos?

With that in mind, a Swedish artist has dreamed up “The International Flag of Planet Earth.” Oskar Pernefeldt designed the new ensign as part of a final thesis project at his Stockholm college. Pernefeldt's flag would, theoretically, replace those of a host of nations already exploring space. It could be planted on Mars whenever the first astronauts from Earth reach the Red Planet.

(Courtesy of Oskar Pernefeldt)

It sort of looks like a gentler version of the more angular logo of NATO, the world's foremost military defense alliance. Pernefeldt offers this explanation of his flag's concept:

Centered in the flag, seven rings form a flower – a symbol of the life on Earth. The rings are linked to each other, which represents how everything on our planet, directly or indirectly, are linked. The blue field represents water which is essential for life – also as the oceans cover most of our planet's surface. The flower's outer rings form a circle which could be seen as a symbol of Earth as a planet and the blue surface could represent the universe.

And posted this video further outlining the project:

When asked by The Washington Post why the world wouldn't just adopt the flag of the United Nations as its global banner, Pernefeldt said that "the U.N. is an organization on Earth, not the planet itself" and that we should "think of it as a flag that signals where you come from."

(Courtesy of Oskar Pernefeldt)

"Imagine standing on the Moon, someone asks you where you are from, and your intercom doesn't work," suggests Pernefeldt. "You have to point with your finger. Where do you point?"

His flag, it can be argued, is a better reflection of that cosmic gesture than any other we currently fly.

(HT @GlobalPost)