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I dreamed of going to the Moon and one day it was possible. I'm sharing that dream with some of the artists, authors, musicians, and filmmakers whose work I love.

We are the Artists on the Moon, and The Lunar Codex is the collection of works in our lunar time capsules.

Q. Why are you doing The Lunar Codex?

The Lunar Codex started as a project to spread hope during a dark time - the years of the Covid-19 pandemic on Earth. The Codex instills the Moon with some of the heart of humanity, our art, so that when we look to the sky, the Moon is a tangible symbol of hope, of what is possible when you believe. The Codex is also a message-in-a-bottle to the future, so that travelers who find these time capsules might  discover some of the richness of our world today. It speaks to the idea that, despite wars and pandemics and climate upheaval, humankind found time to dream, time to create art.

Q. How did the The Lunar Codex come about?

A. I was one of 125 authors on the Writers on the Moon (WOTM) project, assembling a lunar time capsule of contemporary writing. I managed to share my space allotted with over 400 authors in my manifest - and a few artists! That inspired me to create Artists on the Moon, to broaden the reach - by sourcing more space on other spacecraft. Lander by lander, launch by launch, I managed to find enough secondary payload space to bring my manifests to over 1500, then 5,000, and now to over 20,000 creative artists (plus one A.I.) - The Lunar Codex.

Q. Are there really that many creative artists represented in the Lunar Codex?

A. To be honest, there are probably more; I just stopped trying to count after around 20,000 or so. The Lunar Codex archives not only individual works of art or stories or poetry - it preserves entire exhibit catalogs, art magazines, short story collections, and poetry anthologies. One of these pre-selected collections can represent hundreds of creative artists; several years' worth of art magazine issues would easily profile thousands of creative artists.

Q. Why is there a lot of your own writing, music, film, and art in The Lunar Codex?

A. Because that's how this all started, with sending my own creative works to the Moon. 

Q. Do artists pay to be included in the Lunar Codex?
A. Not at all. Artists, authors, musicians, filmmakers, and the copyright owners of the catalogues, collections and anthologies included only give permission for inclusion - that is all. I bear the cost of everything. That includes curation and site maintenance, the digital or analog archival materials, conversion of works into digital or analog archival format, and for primary or secondary payload space on the lunar landers, which includes launch costs. Except for myself, no creative artists - human or A.I. - have paid anything for inclusion. 


Q. Who owns the Lunar Codex?

A. The Lunar Codex is a project of Incandence - my company covering interests in arts, technology, and business. Incandence owns the time capsules, some of the archival technology used in the capsules, related trademarks, and this website. 
       Individual works in the Codex have been archived with permission from their respective creators, publishers, or owners, whether individually or as represented in a collection - such as an anthology, or exhibit or collector's catalogue. 
Copyright of individual works in the Codex remain with their respective creators, publishers, or owners.

Q. What happens when you're gone?

A. The time capsules of the Lunar Codex will remain on the Moon in perpetuity.

       The Lunar Codex website, which documents the contents of the time capsules here on Earth, will itself be archived on nickel or gold-based nanofiche, M-Disc, or similar archival media.

       This and any other related artifacts, such as archival intermediates, will be provided to an institution dedicated to its preservation. If you represent such an institution, please drop me a line.

Q. Is The Lunar Codex open for submission?

A. Not directly, no. The Codex reflects personally-owned exhibit catalogs, monographs, subscriptions, collections, publications, preprints, and predilections. I'd include much more, but behind the scenes it reflects the efforts of just one person. I'm not Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk - I don't have the time or resources.

        However, because we'd like to include an even more diverse and global group of creative artists, we've partnered with Brick Street Poetry in launching  The Polaris Trilogy and a call for poetry, and with the Art Renewal Center (ARC) in their 16th ARC Salon call for art submissions, where selected poetry and art will be included in our Polaris time capsule.

        Submissions are only through our partners; direct submissions to the Lunar Codex will not be considered. 

Q. I have art or books being sent to the Moon separately. Can it be included in The Lunar Codex?

A. Possibly. For example, the Writers on the Moon files are now included in the Lunar Codex as a back-up. There are an increasing number of opportunities to place lunar payload. If one of yours is arts, music, film, or literature-related, drop me a line on the C&C page! I make no promises, though - everything in the Codex is pre-curated by gallerists, curators, collectors, publishers, and editors.

Q. Why have I read about different galleries and collections in The Lunar Codex?

A. The Lunar Codex covers everything. But the Codex evolved organically, so you will see references which correspond to various stages in its evolution:

  ▪  "Manifest 9" are works I curated as part of WOTM, aimed for Peregrine Mission 1 (PM1).
  ▪  "The Peregrine Collection" (aka "Annex 9") includes the above, and adds the works around 800 artists and about 100 authors on a different memory card from WOTM, but also onboard PM1.
  ▪  "The Nova Collection" refers to a separate group of primarily artworks and poetry in a time capsule associated with Intuitive Machines' Nova-C Mission 1 (IM1). 

  ▪  "The Polaris Collection" is a third group of creative works in a time capsule associated with Astrobotic's Griffin mission 1, which will also carry NASA's VIPER lunar rover (GM1). It will carry art, books, music, film, and a back-up of the Peregrine and Nova time capsules.

Q. When are the launches?

A. The earliest launch is now likely to be the Nova launch, most likely September 2022. The Peregrine launch has been delayed because of issues with the rocket platform, and is now scheduled for late 2022, probably November or December. The third launch is scheduled for sometime in  2023, and possibly 2024. Schedule changes in the space industry are not uncommon - space is hard.

        The earliest launch for one of my own works is May 2022, with the Artemis I's Orion spacecraft, although the mission is to orbit the Moon, not land, and so is not part of the Lunar Codex

Q. How long does it take to get to the Moon?

A. As little as 3 days, traveling roughly 240,000 miles, or 386,400 kilometers, which is the distance from the Earth to the Moon. However, the lowest-cost trajectory from Earth to the Moon - making minimal use of thrusters and relying mainly on gravity and momentum - takes about 3 months. Which route is taken depends on the particular mission.

Q. Will we be able to watch the launches and landings?

A. Yes, much like the Perseverance rover landing on Mars, the missions will be streamed. As a payload provider, we will also have first access to photographs and videos of each mission.

Q. Aren't you contributing to space junk?

A. This isn't about old satellites that don't work anymore. This is a time capsule project, meant for future generations to discover a bit about our time on Earth. It has historical and cultural value, like an unearthed time capsule from 1945. It was conceived around the start of the global Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, to try to kindle hope during an uncertain time for creative artists. 

Q. Won't the time capsules float away into space?

A. The Moon does have gravity, just 1/6th that of Earth. A 120-lb kettle-ball on Earth would still feel like 20-lbs on the Moon. 

Q. How will aliens be able to read the files? 

A. The time capsule is meant to be found by future humans, as they're the most likely to be on the Moon. Whoever finds them - alien or human - will likely be smart enough to figure them out, just as we can still decipher Babylonian even when the writing has been eroded down to the tablet surface: "Restoration of Fragmentary Babylonian Texts Using Recurrent Neural Networks." 

Q. I understand how you can archive art and books using laser-etching on nickel, but how can music and film be archived that way? 

A. Film is still prohibitively expensive to etch frame-by-frame on nickel, so digital archiving usually more appropriate; alternatively, we laser-etch scripts or screenplays. For music, again we primarily use digital archiving; alternatively, we can laser-etch sheet music.

        A Lunar Codex innovation for music is to archive the waveform and frequency spectrogram by etching on nickel; the original music may be  reconstructed via sound wave analysis algorithms as used in paleokymophony or paleospectrophony: "How to Play Back the Picture of a Sound Wave." 

Q. What countries are represented in the Lunar Codex?

A. Artists from 100 count​ries and territories are represented in the Lunar Codex - see below (geographic groupings based on an online source). We'd love to see more creative works from other countries, so if where you're from isn't here, please submit to our calls elsewhere in this FAQ, while they're open! 
  ▪  North America: Canada, United States
  ▪  Europe: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Moldova, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom
  ▪  Africa: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Congo-Brazzaville, Côte d'Ivoire, DR Congo, Egypt, Eswatini (Swaziland), Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Lesotho, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mayotte (France)
  ▪  Asia: Armenia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Cyprus,  India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkey, Vietnam, Hong Kong (China)
  ▪  Latin America and the Caribbean: Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Dominica, Haiti, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Trinidad & Tobago Venezuela, Puerto Rico (US)
  ▪  Oceania: Australia, New Zealand, French Polynesia (France)

Q. Why don't you list or show every artwork, story or poem represented in the Lunar Codex, only the creator names? 

A. It's only one human at the computer here. With thousands of creatives, and several pieces by each, this is a huge task! Eventually we will link back to the original terrestrial publication so you can see what individual works are included. For now, it suffices to list the creators and/or the original source such as a catalog, magazine, or anthology. I do have a couple of Galleries that showcases selected pieces.

Q. Are you associated with NASA? SpaceX? The United Launch Alliance (ULA)? Blue Origin?

A. The lunar landers themselves are owned by two NASA prime contractors - Astrobotic  and Intuitive Machines (IM) - via NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. SpaceX and the ULA (plus Blue Origin) provide launch services as subcontractors to Astrobotic and IM. NASA utilizes lander payload space for scientific instruments or rovers headed for the Moon; this is the primary mission of the launches.
        Some surplus non-NASA payload space, commercialized by third parties,  has been purchased for use by the Lunar Codex. You can think of ULA and SpaceX are our Lyft or Uber. We are ridesharing with NASA and NASA's CLPS partners, who are co-passengers.

Q. What happens if the launch is cancelled? 

A. NASA has provided about $70-100M in contracts to each CLPS partner for each mission. Each mission is critical for the Artemis program and the goal of establishing a base on the Moon. If at all humanly possible, a launch will not be cancelled, only delayed. It may be a long delay - for example, Astrobotic's Peregrine launch was originally scheduled for mid-2020, then the end of 2021, and now early 2022.

Q. What happens if your partners don't get the time capsule on the lander in time for the launch? 

A. Once I send my files to my partners, and they confirm receiving them, I have no control over what happens next - I put my trust in them. Deadlines are tight in the space industry, and if they miss onboarding, there's nothing I can do about it. But I will try to put those missed files on my next mission, if there is one, with new partners.

Q. What happens if the lander crashes on the Moon or doesn't reach the Moon, or if the rocket explodes? 

A. Alas, success in the space industry is not easy. If anything like this happens, I may be out my entire investment in this project. But all may not be lost - the works on the time capsule become stardust. 

Q. Does the Codex represent the first art on the Moon?
A. "The Moon Museum" (Apollo 12 - 1969) was comprised of a single ceramic wafer with artwork by Robert Rauschenberg, David Novros, Claes Oldenburg, John Chamberlain, Forrest Myers and Andy Warhol, smuggled to the Moon on a lander leg. 

        "Fallen Astronaut" (Apollo 15 - 1971) was a 3.5" aluminum statue of an astronaut by Paul Van Hoeydonck, made to honor those who had died to advance space exploration.
        In terms of books, SpaceIL's Beresheet lander crashed on the Moon in 2019 with Arch Mission Foundation's "Lunar Library" on board, assumed intact. It included texts on human history and civilization, and Project Gutenberg books (public domain, published prior to 1923).
        The Lunar Codex's contribution is its conscious focus on contemporary, rather than historic, art and books; and its extension of lunar archives to music and film. 
It is the first project to put the works of women artists on the Moon. It represents the first figurative realist art on the lunar surface, and is the first project to place music and film on the Moon. Finally, it is the most expansive and diverse collections of contemporary arts and culture launched to the Moon or to space, in terms of gender, styles, and nationalities, currently with representation from 15,000 creative artists and 91 countries and territories around the globe.

Q. Is there a personal significance to "The Peregrine Collection" name?

A. "Peregrine" was my name on early email addresses and bulletin boards; I feel it kismet that it's also the name of Astrobotic's first lander.

Q. Is there a personal significance to "The Nova Collection" name?

A. Other than being the name of Intuitive Machine's first lander, it was the name of one of my favorite documentary series focusing on science - and helped lead me on my road to a Ph.D. in physics.

Q. Is there a personal significance to "The Polaris Collection" name?

A. Other than beiang the name of Astrobotic's first prototype rover, it also suggests the lunar south pole landing area of our third time capsule.

Q. I'm an artist, author, or other creative listed in the Lunar Codex - how can I identify as being part of this project?

A. You can identify as being listed on The Lunar Codex or in the collection you're included in. Listed creatives may use the AOTM logo on their websites as part of a digital resume, with a link to this website (do not leave out the trademark symbol!) but not on any print or physical media (not, for example, for mugs, T-shirts, stickers, and so on) or any type of other marketing material, online or otherwise.

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You're not required to use the logo; you can simply refer to this website, which documents the complete list of creative artists whose works are represented in the time capsules. If you're not listed in The Lunar Codex, or cannot trace your creative work as placed through one of the catalogs, magazines, or anthologies, or collections represented as archived, you may not use the AOTM logo.

Q. Will you have AOTM or Codex T-shirts? Mugs? Mousepads?

A. Definitely maybe! And likely only on a successful landing. Right now curating and maintenance of the Codex is taking most of my time. If you're looking for Astrobotic or Intuitive Machines patches or related merchandise, those will be available from their websites. I'm going to get them there myself! Please do not use any of their logos, or material owned by others, in any merchandise for sale. It's not a good look, and can get you a terse letter from a lawyer. With official letterhead.

  ▪  Update: Peregrine Mission One merchandise available from Astrobotic

Q. Any other plans or projects?

A. I have poetry placed on the Artemis 1 mission, carried on a flash drive on the Orion spacecraft, and scheduled for launch August 2022. It will orbit the Moon and return to Earth after 4-6 weeks.

        The Lunar Codex started with one mission, and now has payload confirmed for the Peregrine (PM1) and Nova (IM1) lunar missions through 2022, and for the Griffin (GM1) mission in 2023/24. We're grateful that Astrobotic's and Intuitive Machines' mandates allowed us and our partners onboard. Other lunar lander companies we contacted about the Lunar Codex have not replied - it does depends on their mission capacity and flexibility.

        The gold-based microfiche technology used as a terrestrial demo by the Lunar Codex - see the "Story" section - has been successfully tested at the HI-SEAS Mars simulation facility used by NASA. If the opportunity arises for a mission to Mars? We're ready. Humanity is all about possibility.