A manuscript of my poems was sent to the moon’s surface April 11, 2019 as part of Arch Mission Foundation’s Lunar Library delivered by SpaceIL’s Beresheet lander.

Just my manuscript?

First, let me be a bit more modest. We, Arch Mission, created a library designed to be landed on the moon via SpaceIL. The library contains over 30 million pages of text and images etched into 40 micron thick nickel foils. My manuscript is only about 60 pages of all of that.

All of Project Gutenberg, all of the English language Wikipedia, the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (in all of the recognized languages), the PanLex datasets (from the Long Now Foundation, a linguistic key to 5000 languages, with 1.5 billion translations between them), and some “private collections” (the entire works of Peter Drucker, the poetry of Kathleen Spivak, and more) make up a few of the other pages in the library. Some contents are yet to be revealed for various reasons but see The Lunar Library Overview for details on content and on the physical construction of the disks and etching process.

How am I involved with Arch Mission?

I’m on the Advisory Board for the Arch Mission Foundation helping the founder Nova Spivak identify free and open content to represent our human endeavors in the library. I also give advice as to categories of material to include. I was delighted that Nova asked me for a manuscript that might become lunar.

Where is the Lunar Library?

That’s a good question. The Beresheet lander landed really hard. That is to say it crashed on the lunar surface somewhere near or in the Sea of Serenity. The Library could have been ejected or sailed off at impact or… well, we’re not sure. Nova and other team member have created a document that speculates on the fate of the library.

So it’s on the moon. Even likely in one piece. But it’s small and waiting to be discovered.

And there are tardigrades!

At least we think so. Nova (I wasn’t part of this bit) had the library coated with protected resin in which there are, as far as I know, water bears aka tardigrades, embedded. Tardigardes are the roughest creatures on earth and can survive in a state of limbo for a long time under adverse conditions. While their inclusion concerned some people, the very idea that some form of earth life might be part of the library effort is novel.