The Lunar Library Contains Data Embedded Into Nickel

In 2018, the Arch Mission Basis was an archive in Elon Musk’s glove compartment. The archive contained Isaac Asimov’s Basis trilogy, inscribed in a quartz disk that uses experimental 5D optical technology. But this method of storing important data has some limitations.

The storage methods we use nowadays are useful for compressing data but, unfortunately, they are not very durable. In the past, people thought VHS tapes were going to keep their popularity forever, but how many people do you know now that uses them? Therefore, the most efficient and durable method of storing data is analog.

Even if analog storage is most probably the best solution, it has its own mild inconveniences. For example, analog storage takes up a good amount of room, so sending a big amount of information would require a lot of compressions.

Bruce Ha is a scientist that found a way to engrave high-resolution, nano-scale pictures into nickel. The process requires lasers that etch the pictures into glass, then places a layer of nickel, atom by atom, on top.

The Beresheet lander has a lunar library made up of 25 layers of nickels. The first four layers contain around 30,000 high-resolution pictures of e-book pages, which include language primers, textbooks, and hints to decoding the remaining 21 layers. These layers contain precious information, for example almost all of the English Wikipedia, 1000’s of traditional books, and even David Copperfield’s magic tips.

Between the nickel layers, scientists placed thin layers of epoxy resin, into which they hid hair follicles and blood samples to signify the human ancestry.

Tardigrades were also added in the epoxy resin layers. They are extremely small creatures that can enter dormant stages of dehydration, with the possibility of being revived in the future.

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