A plan to send a library of human history to the Moon has been announced, which would remain on the lunar surface for billions of years.
Called the Lunar Library, the project comes from the Arch Mission Foundation, which seeks to “preserve and disseminate humanity’s most important knowledge across time and space.” They previously put a copy of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy on SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket.
Now they’re hoping to include their latest project on the upcoming Peregrine Lunar Lander from Astrobotic, a previous competitor in the Google Lunar X Prize. That lander is intended to launch to the Moon on an Atlas V rocket in 2020.
“We’re thrilled the Arch Mission Foundation has selected Astrobotic,” John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotic, said in a statement. “It’s humbling to think our mission to the Moon will deliver something that could be read millions of years from now.”
The library would consist of various pieces of work including the entirety of Wikipedia, which will be printed out and placed on tiny discs. It'll also include a digital library of human languages called the Rosetta Project. More content for the library, eventually consisting of tens of millions of pages of text and images, will be announced later this year.
It will be stored on thin sheets of nickel the size of a stamp, and just 20 microns thick. To read it you’ll need a microscope that can magnify 1,000 times. And as nickel is little affected by radiation or changing temperatures, the library will stick around for a very long time.
“We can definitely preserve our unique cultural heritage and biological record in a way that will survive for millions to billions of years, and that has not been possible before,” Nova Spivack, co-founder and chairman of Arch, said in the statement. “We see the Lunar Library as the ultimate in cold storage for human civilization.”
The discs launched earlier this year on Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster on the Falcon Heavy launch were the start of Arch’s overall project. That was called the Solar Library, as it will remain in orbit around the Sun.
After their lunar mission, Arch has plans to send a library to the Red Planet, called the Mars Library, around 2030. This would give future colonists on Mars access to knowledge from Earth.
“This will form a backup of Earth on Mars, in the event that the connection between Mars and Earth is ever lost in the future,” they noted. “It will also provide colonists on Mars with a massive data set with which to seed a local Internet and Web on Mars.”