Falcon 9 rocket launches carrying Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Feb. 21, 2019.
The massive archive is aboard Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft.
When Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft launched toward the moon last week, it was carrying a mysterious cargo. Mission planners called it a time capsule but hinted that that wasn’t the whole story. Now the truth is out: The little lunar probe carries a 30-million-page archive of human knowledge etched into a DVD-size metal disc.
The Lunar Library, as the archive is known, constitutes a “civilization backup” to help ensure that our distant descendants never lose humanity’s collective wisdom, according to Nova Spivack, co-founder of Arch Mission Foundation, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit behind the project. The foundation is building a space-based archive designed to survive for 6 billion years or more — a million times longer than the oldest written records in existence today.