An archive of 30 million pages of achievements (and failures) of humanity is directed to the Moon



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Artistic representation of the lunar lander Beresheet.
Image: SpaceIL

The Israeli lunar lander Beresheet, built privately, is currently en route to the moon. It contains a small disk that contains 30 million pages of documents offering insights into human knowledge. The collection of images, texts and symbols is the first step of a construction project of a "lunar library" and enrolled as part of a more initiative. vast aim to create galactic archives of the Earth.

The Arctic home of Doomsday Vault, which contains a selection of seeds from around the world, is about to thaw, with climate change becoming an increasingly urgent reality. And nuclear annihilation is always in the background, forever reminding us that the Earth may not be the safe place to store all the documents relating to human knowledge and progress. For these reasons and more, the Arch Mission Foundation (AMF) is working on a multi-pronged approach to reduce "the archives of our civilization" to a sustainable format and launch them across the galaxy. On Thursday, the Lunar Library's first initiative disk, placed on the Beresheet LG, was launched by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and could reach the moon as early as April 11.

The DVD-sized archive, consisting of 25 nickel film disks, was custom-made by NanoArchival on behalf of the AMF in order to store a dizzying amount of information under analog and digital formats. While we do not have a reliable way to say for sure that the device can withstand extreme temperatures and radiation explosions for billions of years, that's the dream.

According to the AMF, the first four layers of the 120-millimeter disc contain tiny analog etchings that can be seen with a low power microscope. In total, they contain 60,000 images of documents, photographs, books and illustrations. The first layer can be viewed at a magnification of 100 times and the next three layers contain engravings 10 times smaller. Among the contents of these layers is a copy of the Wearable Rosetta disk of the Long Now Foundation. It contains a guide on the linguistics of more than 1,000 human languages ​​and the foundation offers a useful interactive demonstration of what needs to be done to zoom in on the surface of the disc. The analog layers also contain an introduction to more than one million concepts with photographs and corresponding words in different "major" languages.

Analog layers also include technical instructions for accessing the digital layers of the device, including the scientific and technical knowledge necessary for decoding file formats. Digital content decompresses approximately 200 GB of information and includes a complete copy of Wikipedia in English as well as PanLex datasets from the Long Now Foundation, which cover translations of 5,700 languages.

The idea is to continue to send more records to the moon with more documentation on humanity. Another mission is already planned in partnership with Astrobotic in 2020. More modest archives have already been launched on the low Earth orbit as well as on board the red Tesla Roadster sent by Elon Musk to Mars. last year.

It's not just about saving random documents as aliens discover the Earth as a dilapidated wrap of a planet destroyed by humans. Nova Spivack, founder of the AMF, told CNET that "the interplanetary network of backup sites we have set up could even contribute to the creation of an interplanetary Internet". Indeed, the transmission of information on a limited bandwidth between the Earth and missions in space, set up these kinds of libraries at different outposts so that the teams can decode them and access them.

Although the goal of preserving human progress is admirable and the storage technology used by the AMF seems useful for space travel, most of us probably just want to know what is chosen to represent the world. 'humanity. Unfortunately, this is not completely revealed yet. When Gizmodo contacted the AMF to obtain more information, a spokesperson sent us an 84-page PDF file, which is little more than a table of contents, which remains a work in progress and is not yet ready to be published.

Even if we were given a complete copy of the 30 million pages on the disc, we would not have time to go through them thoroughly. We can confirm that the selections in Internet Archive and a copy of the World Factbook are stored on the device. A list of included topics includes expected categories such as "Aerospace" and "Mathematics", as well as more surprising topics such as "Feminist Studies", "Criminology" and "Humor". Unfortunately, we do not have a list of musical works from the Autorité des marchés financiers. choice to criticize.

When we asked the AMF why the full list of contents was not yet published, a spokesperson told us:

We only announce some of the contents of the library at the moment because of our different partnerships. Much more content will be revealed, but there are obviously many things and it would be difficult to announce it at the same time. Our goal is to be as comprehensive as possible. Rather than relying on material conservation issues, we want to include all the diversity and diversity of recorded human knowledge and culture, as well as a record of the life and civilization of planet Earth.

Indeed, of the ten chapters of information contained in the digital layers, one of them is simply titled "Private Collections". The Autorité des marchés financiers works with major non-profit organizations such as Project Gutenberg and the Wikimedia Foundation, but it also raises private funds in exchange for: the ability to choose included content. Last year, Spivack told Live Science that he hoped that this type of offer would be affordable and accessible to all. He wants the right to include "a fragment of data" in one of the archives costs between 20 and 100 US dollars. He also said that the AMF would not make a decision on censorship. "We are going to include everything, including bad things because bad things are also important," he said at the time.

Has a wealthy donor ever sent the world's first dickpike to the moon? Perhaps. Is there a Rick Roll included in these private archives? I would say there is a non-zero chance that the answer is yes. Without such stupid choices, the archives would not even tell a small fraction of our glorious story – and would not give any reasonable warning to exotic species before their first contact.

[Arch Mission Foundation, CNET]
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