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There’s now a ‘forever’ library on the moon that could last billions of years

Some of its contents might surprise you
  • There is now a library on the moon that will outlast civilization
  • It’s thought to be safe for the next 5 billion years or so
  • It includes content from 222 artists

Published on Apr 17, 2024 at 6:29PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Apr 18, 2024 at 6:49PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Tom Wood
There's now a 'forever' library on the moon that could last billions of years

There is now a library on the moon that will outlast civilization – so what will our legacy be?

Hoped to be around for billions of years, the library features cultural landmarks as a backup to human life and experience on Earth.

Prior to 2024, there wasn’t much reading material up there.

Just two sentences etched on NASA’s Apollo 11 and two on Apollo 17 with the signature of then-POTUS, Richard Nixon, a memorial to fallen astronauts, logos on equipment, and a Bible atop a lunar rover in the Sea of Showers left by David Scott.

READ MORE! China developing rail gun longer than Boeing 737 for launching astronauts into space

That all changed in February of this year, however when Intuitive Machine’s Odysseus landed.

Despite possibly being best remembered for toppling over as it landed and the final poignant images it beamed back, it did complete one part of its mission.

30 million pages of books were delivered, alongside 25,000 songs and art.

The moon library is formally referred to as The Galactic Legacy Archive.

The pages are etched microscopically in nickel, known as nanofiche.

As well as literature, music and images are also encoded digitally.

“Nickel never decays and never corrodes,” explains Nova Spivack, head of the nonprofit Arch Foundation that was making its third attempt to deliver the first off-Earth library.

It partnered with a company called Space Blue to add more than 70,000 digital artifacts from 222 Earth artists. 

Now that it’s in place, providing the tiny disks don’t suffer a highly unlikely direct hit from a meteorite, the library ‘will last for as long as the moon,’ Spivack says.

“Even if our planet is destroyed in a nuclear war, it’ll still be there.

“We can now say for the first time in history that civilization will not be lost.” 

Scientists estimate that the moon will stay in Earth’s orbit until the sun turns into a red giant, in 5 billion years.

“If it’s an important book, it’s there … Harry Potter, the Foundation Trilogy, Lord of the Rings, Dune,” Spivak said of the lunar literature.

Aside from novels, there are cave paintings that are around 45,000 years old, an offline version of Wikipedia, and a Dogecoin song from 2021 about sending their favorite cryptocurrency ‘to the moon’.

Music from Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry, Bob Marley, Janis Joplin, and The Who were also included – there’s a focus on hits from 1969 to commemorate the first moon landing.

Magician David Copperfield’s archive is contained in the library – all the details of his famous illusions, including the ones he performed at the Statue of Liberty and the Great Wall of China.

He hinted earlier this month about his plans to ‘make the moon disappear’ – but let’s hope he brings it and the moon library back again.

Every civilization-rebuilding text is part of the archive, courtesy of the Long Now Foundation, an institute creating long-term cultural libraries.

In addition, every language known to the Rosetta Project archive and Holy texts from all major religions are included, alongside stories from indigenous traditions on six continents. 

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