Researchers are now on the lookout for the Arch Lunar Library
that crashed landed on the moon along with Israel's Beresheet lander last week.
The library is the brainchild of the Arch Mission Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to build various repositories of human knowledge across the solar system.
The group also teamed up
with Elon Musk to send a copy of Isaac Asimov's Foundation
trilogy to space in a Tesla Roadster.
The Arch Luna Library was bound for the moon's Sea of Serenity via the Beresheet Mission, but the crashing of the Israeli spacecraft on April 11 left the fate of the Arch Mission's project in question.
The Lunar Library
Arch Mission filled its Lunar Library with 30 million pages of text and picture files, roughly equivalent to 100 gigabytes' worth of data. They are basically 30,000 books in 5,000 different languages all stored in nickel-sized disks. It also contains a complete copy of Wikipedia for good measure.
Some of the other contents of the library include a copy of the Bible, a time capsule from Israel, a recipe for queso from the popular Kerbey Lane Cafe, and even some of David Copperfield's magic secrets.
Arch Mission's engineers made sure that the disks that contain the library are practically indestructible. This is why the organization is confident that it could still retrieve the repository in working condition.
The only problem now is locating where exactly the spacecraft carrying the Lunar Library landed on the moon.
"We have either installed the first library on the moon, or we have installed the first archaeological ruins of early human attempts to build a library on the moon," said
Nova Spivack, cofounder of Arch Mission.
A Lunar Treasure Hunt
As part of their retrieval efforts, Spivack and his team have created an open Google Doc that contains all of the technical information regarding the Arch Lunar Library. They also added details of the Beresheet lander
crash given to the company by fellow nonprofit SpaceIL from Israel.
SpaceIL was the one that created the Beresheet Mission, together with the Israel Space Agency and spacecraft maker Israel Aerospace Industries.
Arch Mission's crowdsourcing endeavor is already drawing interest from other talented people on the internet who want to lend a hand.
One aerospace engineer tweeted
that the Beresheet lander's impact crater on the moon should be big enough that it could be located using NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. However, the spacecraft might not be suited to spot something as small as the Lunar Library on the surface of the moon.
A second Beresheet Mission
is already in the works, according to SpaceIL. It is likely that the Arch Mission Foundation might attempt another crack at sending another Arch Lunar Library to the moon.
Other Beresheet Mission Payload
The Arch Mission Foundation is not the only one that had a lot riding on the ill-fated Beresheet Mission. NASA also loaded the Israeli spacecraft with its Lunar Retroreflector Array (LRA), a device that was meant to help future missions make accurate landings on the surface of the moon.
The LRA is designed to be lightweight and no larger than a regular computer mouse. However, it is made from highly durable materials so that it could withstand the harsh elements in space.
NASA, just like Arch Mission, is hopeful that its device survived the Beresheet lander's crash in one piece.