Along with the Tesla Roadster launched yesterday into deep space by the SpaceX Falcon Heavy, there was a unique optical recording disk made of long lasting quartz. The Arch Mission Foundation disk contains a copy of the famous Foundation Trilogy books by Isaac Asimov.  Arch Mission co-founder Nova Spivack describes the payload and goals of the organization:

Arch Mission Foundation Announces Our Payload On SpaceX Falcon Heavy

Arc Mission library disk on Falcon Heavy payload with recording of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy.

Our goal at the Arch Mission Foundation is to permanently archive human knowledge for thousands to billions of years. We exist to preserve and disseminate humanity’s knowledge across time and space, for the benefit of future generations.

To accomplish this we have begun building special Arch libraries (pronounced: “Arks”). Our first Arch libraries are data crystals that last billions of years. We plan to use many media types over time however — whatever material is the best available for the goal.

We are very happy to announce that our first Arch library, containing the Isaac Asimov Foundation Trilogy, was carried as payload on today’s SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch, enroute to permanent orbit around the Sun.

We are eternally grateful to Elon Musk and his incredible team for advocating the Arch Mission Foundation and giving us our first ride into space.

Watch as SpaceX describes the inclusion of the Arch payload during their launch event here [at 19:51 into webcast video]:

Here is a short video about what the Arch Mission is doing:

The Arch library that was included on the Falcon Heavy today was created using a new technology, 5D optical storage in quartz, developed by our advisor Dr. Peter Kazansky and his team, at the University of Southampton, Optoelectronics Research Centre.

This Arch library will orbit the Sun for at least millions of years alongside Elon’s Tesla Roadster. The Roadster will likely be the oddest object in the solar system, and thus is the perfect place to put an Arch library so that it can be noticed and retrieved in the distant future.

We are so honored that Elon is the recipient of the first 2 Arch libraries ever made. If anyone deserves them, it’s him. Arch1.1 now resides in Elon’s personal library, while Arch 1.2 is enroute with SpaceX to permanent Solar orbit.

Arch 1.1 and 1.2 are the first in a series of 5, and are two of the longest-lasting storage objects ever created by humans. They are immensely valuable artifacts; the product of decades of work to invent a new form of storage capable of serving the needs of the growth of big data.

We also owe a debt of gratitude to our incredible group of renowned advisors, without whom none of this would be possible. We would especially like to thank Michael Paul and Stephen Wolfram for their close support and advice.

Asimov’s Foundation Series was the inspiration for the Arch Mission Foundation, many years ago when we first conceived of this project. It is a metaphor for what we hope this can become, and it is the perfect cornerstone as our mission begins.

Layout diagram for the Arch Mission disk.

For this, we would also like to thank Asimov’s agent, Mel Berger, at WME Entertainment, for giving us permission to send this epic trilogy, to space, as an homage to Asimov’s brilliance and vision.

If you are not familiar, Asimov’s Foundation Series is important for its symbolism. The series’ protagonist Hari Seldon endeavors to preserve and expand upon all human culture and knowledge through a 30,000 year period of turmoil. We felt this was a very fitting first payload to include in the Arch.

What’s Next?

In subsequent Arch Mission updates we’ll add more curated information in more locations around the solar system, and on Earth as well, and using more forms of next-generation long-term storage media as well.

5D optical storage in quartz, decoding key

This will backup our civilization for eternity in a manner that will make it impossible to ever be lost or not rediscovered, and that will also make it impossible for anyone in the future who does find it to hoard the knowledge — the Arch libraries will be in too many locations for anyone to control access to them.

You can read all about our plans on our website, www.archmission.com, but a brief summary is provided here.

The Solar Library™ will orbit the Sun for billions of years. We will continue to add to it over time with additional Arch libraries. Think of it as a ring of knowledge around the sun. This is only the first step of an epic human project to curate, encode, and distribute our data across the Solar system, and beyond.

We are developing a special Arch library that will be delivered to the surface of the Moon by 2020. This Arch will start the Lunar Library™, a collection of the most important documents, photos, videos and data of our species and will last for as long as the Moon itself.

We are also designing an Arch library to land on Mars. The Mars Library™ will be designed to supply a future human settlement on Mars with a vast collection of important knowledge from Earth — including perhaps a copy of a large portion of the Internet.

The Mars Library will seed 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.

By eventually connecting the Arch Libraries, and the Arch storage devices they contain, through a decentralized read-write data sharing network, that spans the Solar system, we can begin to grow and share a collective decentralized library of everything humanity learns, on every planet in our solar system, and even beyond, as we spread.

This truly can evolve into Asimov’s vision of an Encyclopedia Galactica someday — an encyclopedia containing all the knowledge accumulated by a galaxy-spanning civilization.

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