When SpaceIL’s Beresheet lander crashed on the lunar surface moments before it landed on the moon, it not only dashed Israel’s hopes of sticking its lunar landing, but took the lander’s payload with it. One item may have survived, though: The Lunar Library, that 30-million-page backup of humanity’s greatest cultural offerings (and one queso recipe).
Turns out that the Lunar Library’s collection of creations, including the complete Wikipedia, the Rosetta Project, books selected by Project Gutenberg, as well as genome maps, 60,000 analog images of pages of books, photographs, illustrations, and documents, and much of the world’s greatest art, music, literature, and scientific knowledge, may have survived the crash.
The Arch Mission Foundation, the organization behind the Lunar Library, announced that based on known impact information, the Library, which is encoded on 25 nickel discs made for the AMF by NanoArchival, is intact and on the moon. Once confirmed, it will mean that SpaceIL has successfully delivered the first commercial payload, the Lunar Library, to the Moon. If they can’t confirm the library’s survival, there’s still a silver lining they note: They may have instead “installed the first archaeological ruins of early human attempts to build a library on the moon.”
Now, the Arch Mission Foundation is on the hunt to find the Lunar Library if it is indeed somewhere on the moon’s surface, or at least determine whether or not the Lunar Library survived the impact, they have released a Google doc with the Library’s technical specs and crash data along with their most recent research and projections to follow as they hunt. They are also asking folks to contribute their own input on Twitter with the hashtag #FindTheLunarLibrary
The Arch Mission also announced that the Library was carrying some previously undisclosed information. There was a collection of music from around the world that was intended to be curated and crowdsourced with planned future lunar missions, essays from the Genius 100, an “active and engaged community of 100 exceptionally imaginative and impactful human beings, including authors, scientists, entrepreneurs, and prominent political figures,” and a key to 5,000 languages with 1.5 billion cross-language translations. Most intriguing, however, was the inclusion of the top-secret technological innovations of illusionist David Copperfield. The famed magician had been collaborating with the Arch Mission Foundation for a future project, which is either up in smoke or still TBD. Perhaps the crash will motivate him to finally pull off that trick he’s been rumored to be working on for years: Making the moon disappear.