Hmm ... a planetary insurance policy to save and share humanity's knowledge with future generations is orbiting the sun aboard Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster?
The very first Arch library, containing The Isaac Asimov Foundation Trilogy — Arch 00001:000001 (Image and caption credit:
Needless to say, this is pretty interesting (and deep) information. Leave it to Musk to plan and allow for such a thing. It sure sounds like something out of a science fiction movie. However, if you read the context provided on the Arch Mission Foundation's website, it really does make perfect sense:
"The Arch Mission Foundation™ (pronounced ar·k) exists to help humanity preserve and spread its knowledge across vast distances of time and space.
We believe that the purpose of life is to evolve and spread intelligence across the universe.
Ancient civilizations accomplished this by preserving their data in stone, a very long lasting medium -- for example, The Pyramids of Giza. But ironically, despite our higher level of technological attainment, our civilization’s data is far less durable.
Our knowledge exists primarily on paper documents, and plastic media such as magnetic tape, optical DVDs, and flash drives. Paper media, under very carefully controlled conditions, can be kept for hundreds of years, but our plastic digital storage media has a shelf-life of 20 to 50 years. Most of these media are also very vulnerable to heat, cold, moisture, bacteria and fungus, insects, and electromagnetic radiation."
The Arch Libraries are the foundation's solution:
"This new medium, invented over decades by Dr. Peter Kazansky, is expected within 10 years to achieve a storage capacity of 360 Terabytes per 3.75 inch disk of quartz (that’s 7000 Blu-Ray Disks!), and is stable for at least 14 billion years, under a wide range of extreme conditions. Today this is the best way to store data for billions of years in space."
Below is a video of the launch, which includes more information about the payload, with specific references to Musk's Tesla Roadster, Starman in the official SpaceX spacesuit, a Hotwheels Roadster and mini-starman, as well as the Arch 5D optical storage unit. Tune in at the 12:20 mark in the video for these details.
Here's another video with some additional explanation of the project:
What do you make of all of this? It's pretty crazy stuff to say the least.
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