In order to keep track of millions of articles written on Wikipedia, an American foundation has burned all pages of the online encyclopedia on quartz disks. The disks have been embedded in the Israeli spacecraft Beresheet, which took flight aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. A few days ago, we learned that the archives were successfully placed in Earth orbit. But a little later, the Israeli probe missed its landing on the moon.
The good news: the archives have probably been deposited on the Moon. The bad: we do not know where exactly yet.
Note that no one yet knows if there is anything left of the archive for now. However, the discs on which the data has been engraved have been designed to withstand extreme conditions. Thus, there is a good chance they will be intact at the moment.
A project designed for a contest organized by Google
Beresheet was originally created as part of the Google Lunar X Prize contest, which was priced at $ 20 million. However, the contest was eventually canceled as no candidate achieved his goal by the deadline set by the organizers.
Nevertheless, Beresheet, the small space probe developed by a team of Israeli engineers and technicians was launched by SpaceIL. At launch, the probe shipped a special cargo: more than 30 million pages of historical and cultural data, the Bible and a complete copy of Wikipedia.
The pages are somewhere on the moon
A few days ago, we learned that Beresheet crashed on the moon, following a motor problem occurred a hundred meters from the lunar soil.
Arch Foundation is the company that had the idea to put a digital library of more than 100 GB – integrated with 25 nickel discs – aboard the Israeli probe. According to the company, Wikipedia’s copy should be somewhere within 30 kilometers of the spacecraft’s crash zone.
After the crash, Nova Spiack, the co-founder of the company, made a call to help him locate the digital library.
The landing was a little bumpier than expected, but airplane black boxes survive stronger impacts, and our disc is less breakable. Small, light objects, like our 100 gram library, do better in impacts. It was probably thrown a few km away – a 30 million page frisbee on the moon.
— Arch Mission Foundation (@archmission) April 12, 2019