Arch Mission Foundation is sending data with evidence of human life to as many parts of space as possible in case Earth is destroyed.

By Ian Horswill


Posted on August 8, 2019

With fears Earth is being destroyed by the apathy or ignorance of world leaders over climate change, vital evidence of human life is being stored in space.

The Arch Mission Foundation, a non-profit organisation, aims to maintain a backup of planet Earth if the planet and its inhabitants are wiped out. It was founded in 2016 in Houston, Texas, and has moved its headquarters to Los Angeles.

Its first mission was to store a “solar library”, containing the Asimov Foundation Trilogy, in the glovebox of Elon Musk‘s cherry red Tesla Roadster orbiting the Sun.

Isaac Asimov was a Russian-born, American author, a professor of biochemistry, and a highly successful writer, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. The Asimov Foundation Trilogy depicts the future history of human society.

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“The Arch library that was included on the Falcon Heavy was created using a new technology, 5D optical storage in quartz, developed by our advisor Dr Peter Kazansky and his team, at the University of Southampton, Optoelectronics Research Centre,” Arch Mission Foundation said.

“This Arch library will orbit the Sun for at least 30 millions of years inside Elon’s Tesla Roadster. The Roadster is the perfect place to put an Arch library so that it can be noticed and retrieved in the distant future.”

In October last year, the Arch Mission Foundation, in partnership with SpaceChain, delivered a copy of the English Wikipedia into low-Earth orbit.

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SpaceChain’s cubesat contains a blockchain node and is the first of a constellation of interplanetary blockchain nodes the organisation plans to launch, with a goal to provide decentralised data synchronisation and transactional infrastructure across the solar system.

Within the SpaceChain cubesat is a solid-state Arch Library containing the Wikipedia in a protected compartment. SpaceChain and the Arch Mission Foundation will continue to send and synchronise copies of the Arch Mission libraries across the solar system in coming years.

Then the Foundation sent the Arch Lunar Library in the SpaceIL “Beresheet” lunar lander, which crashed on the Moon in April and is believed to have survived intact.

The Foundation state that the Arch Lunar Library represents the first in a series of lunar archives from the foundation, designed to preserve the records of our civilisation for billions of years. The lunar library contains a 30-million page archive of human history and civilisation, covering all subjects, cultures, nations, languages, genres and time periods.

lunar libary Arch Mission Foundation

The library is housed within a 100-gram nanotechnology device that resembles a 120mm DVD. However, it is actually composed of 25 nickel discs, each only 40 microns thick, that were made for the foundation by NanoArchival.

The first four layers contain more than 60,000 analog images of pages of books, photographs, illustrations, and documents – etched as 150 to 200 dpi, at increasing levels of magnification, by optical nanolithography.

In the analog layers of the Library is a specially designed “Primer” that teaches over a million concepts in pictures and corresponding words across major languages, as well as the content of the Wearable Rosetta disc, from the Long Now Foundation, which teaches the linguistics of thousands of languages.

“The Lunar Library is the third instalment in the Arch Mission Foundation’s Billion Year Archive initiative, delivered to many locations around Earth and other locations in the Solar System. By delivering many copies to many places, and updating them with new instalments on an ongoing basis, we intend to gradually pepper the solar system with the records of our civilisation,” the Foundation states.

“The more Arch libraries we deliver into the Billion Year Archive, and more places we store them, the more likely it is that at least some of them will survive for billions of years into the future, when they may eventually be found by those who come after us.”