Cargo carrying Peregrine lander.
Credit: Astrobotic

To preserve and disseminate humanity’s most important knowledge across time and space feels like a Star Trek imperative.

Astrobotic and the Arch Mission Foundation have partnered to land the “Lunar Library” on Astrobotic’s first robotic lander mission to the Moon in 2020.

That Lunar Library will include the Wikipedia, and the Long Now Foundation’s Rosetta Project, a digital library of human languages. Additional content and data for the Lunar Library is to be announced in the coming year.

Analog microfiche

Astrobotic will carry the Lunar Library to the Moon on its Peregrine Lunar Lander and store it on the lunar surface. The Lunar Library consists of a set of tens of millions of pages of text and images stored as analog microfiche on thin sheets of nickel. Each page is etched by laser at 300,000 dpi using patented nanolithography technology provided exclusively to the Arch Mission Foundation by Stamper Technologies.

Commercial interest in returning to the Moon.
Photo Credit: NASA/GSFC

The content of the Library can easily be read via a 1000x magnification optical microscope, without needing a computer. Nickel is impervious to radiation as well as the changing temperatures on the Moon, and can last for millions to billions of years in space.

Cold storage

John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotic said in a press statement: “It’s humbling to think our mission to the Moon will deliver something that could be read millions of years from now. Arch’s Lunar Library will be a monument not only to human knowledge and culture, but also the first commercial mission to the Moon.”

Along with the library, the Peregrine Lunar Lander has a manifest of other payloads from governments, companies, universities, non­profits, and individuals.

“Through massive replication around the solar system we will be able to guarantee that the Arch Libraries will never be lost ­ even millions to billions of years in the future,” said Nova Spivack, co­founder and Chairman of the Arch Mission Foundation.

“We can definitely preserve our unique cultural heritage and biological record in a way that will survive for millions to billions of years,” Spivack adds, “and that has not been possible before. We see the Lunar Library as the ultimate in cold storage for human civilization.”

Credit: SpaceX

Long-term “arkives”

The Lunar Library follows the Arch Mission’s initial foray into space with the Solar Library, launched aboard SpaceX’s first Falcon Heavy flight earlier this year – yes, the one that hurled the Tesla roadster into space. The first books in the Solar Library are Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy.

The Arch Mission Foundation designs, builds, delivers and maintains curated long­term archives that are housed in specially designed devices called Arch Libraries (pronounced “Arks”). Arch Libraries are being developed with a variety of form factors to survive for long durations in space, as well as on the surfaces of planets, moons and asteroids.

The Red Planet as seen by Europe’s Mars Express.
Credit: ESA/D. O’Donnell – CC BY-SA IGO

Future plans

The Arch Libraries may last billions of years longer than the Pyramids. They may even last longer than our planet. In a million years the Arch Libraries may be the only remaining trace of our species and our civilization, states the group.

The Mars Library is planned, and will be designed to supply a future human settlement on Mars with a vast collection of important knowledge from Earth. This will form a backup of Earth on Mars, in the event that the connection between Mars and Earth is ever lost in the future. It will also provide colonists on Mars with a massive data set with which to seed a local Internet and Web on Mars.

For more information, visit Astrobotic at:

The Arch Mission Foundation is available at:

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