Image credit: Sanctuary On The Moon Project

There’s a new mission to the Moon – one that intends to deliver a time capsule via NASA’s multi-pronged Artemis program for “rebooting” the human exploration of Earth’s celestial companion.

Announced in Paris on March 21, the effort is called “Sanctuary On The Moon” and has been launched by French engineer Benoit Faiveley and a team of international scientists, researchers, designers and artists.

Benoit Faiveley, founder, inspecting one of the genome disc. Image credit: Sanctuary On The Moon/Benedict Redgrove

The project’s countdown is targeted for a 2027 sendoff and consists of 24 sapphire discs engraved with “the very essence of humanity,” the initiative declares.

Repository of knowledge

In order to weather the hash climes of the Moon, a durable, vault-like container is to be designed, one that meets the space certification requirements of NASA.

“We are delighted to take Sanctuary to the Moon”, remarks Joel Kearns, NASA’s Deputy Associate Administrator for Exploration in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “We believe that this internationally curated repository of knowledge on the Moon will serve as an inspiration today and for many generations to come,” according to a Sanctuary to the Moon website posting.

The Sanctuary team looking at the ‘Life’ disc. Image credit: Sanctuary On The Moon/Benedict Redgrove

Cosmic hello

Sanctuary will be delivered to the Moon’s surface using an automatic space probe from NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative.

In a statement, Faiveley explains that Sanctuary “will constitute a ‘cosmic hello’ to our descendants or perhaps even visitors from elsewhere. It will be a variegated portrait of our species engraved in micropixels – up to 7 billion per disc.”

The discs are currently being engraved at the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA).

Faiveley adds that narrative threads by way of text, images, diagrams and data representation are an aspect of the engraving, “important examples from astrophysics, particle physics, astronomy and planetary science.”


Sanctuary’s archival time capsule team is made up of a multidisciplinary team of scientists, engineers, astrophysicists, paleontologists, cosmologists and artists.

Along with NASA, Sanctuary has also received the support of organizations such as CNES, the French space agency, as well as UNESCO.

Image credit: Sanctuary On The Moon

The discs will not only include examples of mathematics, culture, paleontology, art and science but also the human genome.

“For the first time in history, the collective human ‘recipe’ in the form of male and female genomes will be taken to another world,” the Sanctuary website adds.

The sequencing was done in Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre at BC Cancer in Vancouver.

The ‘Genomenauts’ were chosen through a double-blind selection process.

French engineer Benoit Faiveley.
Image credit: Sanctuary On The Moon

Our world, our epoch

Part of the time capsule will be dedicated to UNESCO’s designated sites such as World Heritage and Biosphere reserves, as well as to key international UNESCO declarations on bioethics and the human genome.

“The Sanctuary project is a message for the very long term. We want future explorers to step back in time and join us in our exploration of ourselves, our world and our epoch,” Faiveley concludes.

Over the next few years, the Sanctuary team will include additional original content that will also be exploited in different exhibitions, conferences and documentaries.

For more about Sanctuary On The Moon, go to:

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