Ancient Texts To Be Sent To The Moon

NASA Astronauts left a Bible on the Apollo 15 buggy when they left the Moon

A Sefer Torah, Judaism’s most sacred text, is likely to be carried to the Moon in an effort to preserve cultural artifacts in a location beyond even the most destructive terrestrial apocalypse.

The idea that a global disaster could unravel civilization’s most cherished accomplishments has bothered science fiction writers for generations. Just as we have already started trying to preserve the DNA of endangered and extinct species and food crops, eyes have turned to the skies for something even more secure.

The first step is proposed for a handwritten copy of the Jewish Torah to hitch a ride on Space IL, an Israeli competitor in the race to win the Google Lunar X Prize http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/. The plan is being promoted by the Torah on the Moon campaign but there are plans to expand it to include two other similarly ancient scriptures, the Hindu Vedas and the I-Ching.

"This is an incredible, beautiful project," project founder Paul Aouizerate, told New Scientist. "These three texts are among Earth's most ancient documents, created over 3000 years ago. They are significant to billions of people." 

On the other hand, the move may arouse some controversy. In Jewish law sacred texts must be transported and stored in particular ways considered respectful. The suitability of a Moon landing may not have been settled, but is unlikely to go unchallenged. However, opposition, however heated, is unlikely to have much impact if the efforts to get hundreds of thousands of supporters to sponsor a letter succeed.

The documents will be stored in capsules with a lifespan of at least 10,000 years even under the harsh temperature ranges the Moon experiences – a prototype that failed in testing has already been rejected. Apollo 15 astronauts left a Bible behind on the console of their Moon buggy, but even with no air to to affect it, the conditions may ensure a much shorter lifespan. Radiation, in particular, would severely damage any items left unprotected on the surface. American flags left there during the moon landings have already been bleached completely white.

 

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