TIME CAPSULES

Chronicles of a Future Foretold -Resized
ARCHIVING ARTS AND CULTURE

The Lunar Codex uses digital and analog technology to preserve art, books, music, and more. The choice of media is highly dependent on the project mission.

Analog Technology
 

The primary analog technology used by The Lunar Codex for Intuitive Machines Mission 1 (IM1) and for Griffin Mission 1 (GM1) - for the Nova and Polaris time capsules - is NanoFiche™ technology. It can store orders of magnitude more content in the same space as microfiche, is impervious to temperature and humidity, and has a near-zero degradation factor.

To illustrate, the image below shows my book Memory's Children reduced to credit-card size using a similar gold-based microfiche technology, as well as the art catalog for the exhibit Chronicles of a Future Foretold. Each page is 5 mm in height and can be read with a magnifying glass.
 

Note the  gold-based technology is not being used for the Moon, because of weight considerations. It is being used for illustration only. 

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Now contrast the gold-etched Memory's Children with a nickel-based 200,000-dpi NanoFiche disk, below, where fonts are 1 um, the size of a bacillus bacterium.

This nickel-based technology - exemplified by the disk in the center - is what is used in the Lunar Codex's Nova and Polaris time capsules.

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The Foundation disk is the same as the disk in the glove compartment of the red Tesla roadster launched via SpaceX in 2018.
 

My own book Memory's Children is shown for contrast on gold microfiche, a technology that's 20,000-dpi and heavier, but more robust. It can theoretically withstand the environmental conditions on Mars.

NanoFiche can store 150,000 pages of text or photos on a single 8.5”x11” sheet. It is currently the highest density storage media in the world. 

For IM1, Codex graphics and text images are etched alongside other client images and enclosed in a time capsule on the Nova-C lander.

Analog technology was also used in our payload for Astrobotic's Peregrine Mission One (PM1) on Moonstone, in this case an etched silver disk that, for Codex purposes, confirms Dr. Peralta as payload provider for the program. 

Digital Technology

The primary storage technology used by Codex for PM1 is digital. This utilizes machine-readable and writeable graphics and text files in standard formats, stored on non-volatile memory cards.


NASA is using the same class of memory cards for archival purposes in its Orion spacecraft Moon Pod during its Artemis I mission. launched via the Space Launch System (SLS) to orbit the Moon in May 2022.

This NASA mission carries the poem Three Faces of the Moon, which will complete the orbit and return to Earth. The poem is also archived in the Lunar Codex.

The advantage of using digital technology is its ability to record enormous amounts of data with a very small weight profile. Degradation and errors are addressed through file redundancy; in our case, the main Lunar  Codex files are have a redundancy factor of 2 or 3, depending on the mission.
 

The Lunar Codex payload is enclosed in a MoonBox capsule, similar to the laser-printed containers shown below, fabricated by AON3D.

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The Lunar Codex uses space reserved for Dr. Peralta in three physically separate MoonBox capsules. These are consolidated, along with other similar payloads, in a single DHL MoonBox canister, as shown above.


This DHL MoonBox is physically bolted to the framework of the Peregrine Lander, which, when landing, serves as a marker for the time capsules on the lunar surface.

Hybrid Analog-Digital Technology

For Griffin Mission 1 (GM1) - which will carry the Codex's third time capsule Polaris - a hybrid analog-digital storage system is used.
 

This consists of alternating layers of nickel shielding/analog storage and digital memory cards, optimizing capacity and archival longevity.

Digital, analog, and hybrid-based time capsules will again be contained in a single sealed MoonBox canister bolted to the lunar lander's structure. The Griffin lander becomes a permanent marker of the location for the Polaris collection of the Lunar Codex.