Beresheet spacecraft to deliver library of human history to moon

Should aliens land on our moon someday and find no humans in the neighborhood to communicate with, they would still be able to learn our story. At least, that’s the hope behind the Beresheet lunar craft, privately built by Israeli company SpaceIL, that hitched a ride to outer space on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. The Arch Mission Foundation (AMF), which “maintains a billion-year backup of Planet Earth,” has put onboard Beresheet a 30-million page archive of human history. A combination of text and pictures, the “Lunar Library” contains a linguistic key to 5,000 languages.

There’s no telling how long the records will last, but AMF hopes to plant more records throughout space to ensure humanity can reach billions of years into the future. Last year, AMF put its “solar library” into orbit for what it hopes will be 30 million years, in the glove compartment of the Tesla Roadster in solar orbit. Other libraries are planned for caves, mountaintops, and other remote locations on Earth, and for Mars.

beresheet spacecraft library, the venture magazine

Lunar Lander On The Moon. 3D Scene. Elements of this image furnished by NASA.

“The idea is to place enough backups in enough places around the solar system, on an ongoing basis, that our precious knowledge and biological heritage can never be lost,” AMF co-founder Nova Spivack told CNET. “The interplanetary network of backup locations we have started may even help to enable an interplanetary Internet. As we become a spacefaring civilization, we are going to need ways to move big data around the solar system, and protect it in transit, and at each location.”

The lunar library is contained in a 100 gram nanotech device composed of 25 nickel discs at a thickness of 40 microns each. There are four analog layers housing more than 60,000 images, and 21 digital layers housing more than 100 gigabytes of highly compressed datasets.

Beresheet, which means “Genesis” in Hebrew, is expected to reach the moon in April. How long it will remain, and who or what will encounter it, is the big mystery.