September 19, 2019

How Israel Brought Life to the Moon

“In April, the lunar lander Beresheet — a privately funded Israeli project — crashed on the moon. The mission originally started as a contender for the Google Lunar X prize, a contest to land a privately made robot on the moon before a 2018 deadline. As The Verge’s Loren Grush explains, it wasn’t a very robust scientific mission: It had planned to run some simple tests on the moon’s magnetism. The mission was more a proof of concept that ambitious space exploration can take place outside of big government programs.

Sadly, the craft crash-landed due to a computer error.

But a part of the mission lives on. A group called the Arch Mission Foundation had installed a library of sorts on the craft, and they tell Wired, they believe it may have survived. Arch Mission has the goal of “maintaining a backup of planet Earth,” and wanted a store of information on the moon “to preserve the records of our civilization for up to billions of years.” In the future, after our extinction, if aliens were to land on the moon and find the archive, they could learn about us (and presumably feel sorry we’re no longer around).

Tardigrades — the microscopic, oddly cute toughest animals on Earth — explained
The “library” was etched on to a nickel-metal disc, and it contained nearly all of English Wikipedia, copies of classic books, human blood samples, and tardigrades (because if anything alive on Earth is going to last billions of years, it’s them). Many of those tardigrades are coated in a protective resin, much like how amber preserves long-dead mosquitos that were once trapped in tree sap.

According to Wired, a co-creator of the library believes the disc survived the crash. “In the best-case scenario, Beresheet ejected the Arch Mission Foundation’s lunar library during impact and it lies in one piece somewhere near the crash site,” Wired reports.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Picks

"Congratulations, Mr. President. It took an extraordinary effort, but you finally managed to spark a serious global crisis. I know you don’t like to share credit, but don’t worry. The current mess in the Middle East centered around Iran is all..."

"We’re approaching the anniversary of one of the nastiest political battles it has been my misfortune to witness—the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court despite credible accusations of sexual harassment and assault and his..."

"There are few one-offs in life on Earth—rarely can a single species boast a trait or ability that no other possesses. But human language is one such oddity. Our ability to use subtle combinations of sounds produced by our vocal cords to create..."

"He walked through the coffee shop door and scanned the crowd. A familiar smile bloomed as he recognized me, despite how my appearance had changed over the years. I’m bald and bearded now, and heavier. I wear an extra decade on my face, and I’m..."

"The poverty rate in the United States fell to 11.8 percent in 2018, according to data released last week by the Census Bureau — the lowest it’s been since 2001. But this estimate significantly understates the extent of economic deprivation in..."

"Streaming is the future of TV. But for now a big part of the streaming business revolves around old TV shows. Latest case in point: Netflix is paying a lot of money for the rights to show Seinfeld to its 150 million subscribers around the world..."

"On the eve of the second Israeli election of 2019, there is no shortage of apocalyptic rhetoric about the potential consequences of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election. From the New York Times' editorial column to The Forward’s..."

"Is there a backlash toward the technology industry in the culture? I tend to think so, having written about its various twists and turns most weekdays for the past couple years now. But sometimes an obsession with a beat can lead to myopia, and..."