An artist’s depiction of Beresheet lunar lander.
Tucked away inside Israel’s Beresheet lunar lander, currently on its way to the Moon, is a massive archive documenting humanity’s achievements.
The collection of images, text and symbols is the first part of a project to build a “Lunar Library” and part of a bigger push to create a space-based archive of Earth.
According to the Arch Mission Foundation (AMF), the library contains 30 million pages of human history that covers a wide range of subjects, languages and time periods, all stored on a DVD-sized archive made of 25 nickel discs that are each only 40 microns thick. An 84-page document that AMF provided to Gizmodo showed subject categories in the time capsule including aerospace, mathematics, women's studies, humor and criminology.
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The first four layers contain over 60,000 analog images of pages of books, photos, illustrations and documents, AMF explained. Among the included items will be a copy of The World Factbook.
When Gizmodo asked why the full list of contents was not being released, the AMF told the news outlet:
"We’re only announcing some of the content in the library right now because of the various partnerships we have. Much more content will be revealed. … Rather than rely on problematic curations of material, we want to include the full breadth and diversity of recorded human knowledge and culture and a record of the life and civilization of planet Earth."
There will be more discs sent to the Moon in the coming years, including in partnership with Astrobotic next year.
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The Beresheet lander was launched by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and could reach the Moon by April 11. The lander and its time capsule will remain on the Moon indefinitely.
The Moon looms large for a number of countries’ space programs. China, for example, recently became the first country to successfully land a probe on the far side of the Moon when the Chang’e 4 lander reached the lunar surface on Jan. 2.
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Fox News' James Rogers contributed to this report.
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