Israel's first spacecraft, launched last week in the first privately funded lunar mission, is carrying a small DVD disc containing the building blocks of human civilization in 30 million pages of information, Newsweek Magazine reported.
The unmanned robotic explorer named Beresheet—Hebrew for the word "genesis"— lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Thursday atop a Falcon 9 rocket launched by the California-based entrepreneur Elon Musk's SpaceX company.
According to Newsweek, the archive is dubbed the “lunar library” and is meant to be a sort of civilization backup for future generations.
“One of the primary evolutionary challenges that we face is amnesia about our past mistakes, and the lack of active countermeasures to repeating them,” Nova Spivack, co-founder of Arch Mission Foundation, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that backed the mission, told NBC.
“For the survival of our species, we need to find ways to raise our awareness of what worked and didn't work, and we need to ensure it is shared with the people of the future,” Spivack added.
The lunar archive is designed to last at least six billion years, far longer than any written records.
“It encourages people to reflect on humankind's place in the universe,” said Paul Davies, director of the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Physics at Arizona State University, adding that the archive served a largely symbolic purpose.
The library reportedly includes a collection of songs, children’s drawings and writings about Israeli culture and history. It also contains the entire English-language version of Wikipedia and a guide to 5,000 languages with 1.5 billion sample translations, according to Newsweek.