Based in Seattle Xplorer and the Arch Mission Foundation are teaming up on what looks like “Mission: Impossible”: a plan to send the Foundation’s Arch Libraries on space odyssey to the moon, Mars, Venus, and near-Earth asteroids starting in 2021.
Micro-miniaturized compendiums of human knowledge, laser-etched onto nickel to preserve the equivalent of 30 million pages of information, are to be attached as payloads to Xplore’s Xcraft spacecraft and sent to deep space on rockets to be named later.
“The knowledge of our civilization is precious. Helping distribute Arch libraries in space is an important way to secure this valuable data, ”said Jeff Rich, CEO of Xplore, in a press release. “The Xplore team is proud to host the Lunar Library payload on our missions.”
Xplore is not the only company to partner with Arch Mission. The foundation’s first space payload, a digitized version of the Isaac Asimov Foundation trilogy, was sent to Mars orbit with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster at the inaugural launch of the SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket.
Arch’s lunar library, recording tens of thousands of books along with Wikipedia content and hundreds of pages of photos and illustrations, was placed on the Israeli-made Beresheet lunar lander – which crashed on the moon in April.
Thanks to his role as strategic advisor to the foundation, Rich’s image is integrated into this library.
“It’s humiliating to know that my images are probably intact on the moon’s surface,” Rich said. “Soon we will be making it possible for everyone to bring their lives to space, as millions of people can include photos and stories in Arch Libraries.”
Other Arch Mission Foundation records are set to fly aboard Astrobotic’s Peregrine lander to the moon – with Microsoft, the University of Washington, and Twist Bioscience providing DNA assistance. Other libraries will be sent to the solar system’s gravitational equilibrium points on board Satellites of Hypergiant Galactic Systems.
As for the foundation, this is just the start.
“The partnership with Xplore allows us to continue to expand our lunar library and establish new arch libraries throughout our solar system as part of our billion-year archive,” said Nova Spivack, Co-Founder and CEO of the foundation.
Xplore, a private fund, was founded in 2017 by Jeff Rich and Lisa Rich, who are also managing partners of Hemisphere companies in Seattle. Hemisphere has invested in more than 200 companies, including space companies ranging from SpaceX to Vector Launch and Axiom Space.
In emailed responses to GeekWire questions, Jeff Rich said the company’s Xcraft spacecraft is due to undergo a preliminary design review this summer, followed by a critical design review in the fall.
“Assembly, integration and testing will take place in 2020,” he said.
Rich said the company “is evaluating all launch opportunities” for missions beyond low earth orbit, starting in 2021.
The Xplore website indicates that the company’s mission is “the unhindered exploration” of the solar system, with the moon, Mars, Venus and asteroids on the agenda. The site also indicates Celestis’ memorial missions in deep space as a potential application.
Will the plans developed by Xplore and the Arch Mission Foundation see the light of day by 2021? It sounds ambitious – but when you consider that Arch Libraries are designed to last for millennia, what’s a year, two, or three?