The second-ever Israeli astronaut will take with him the smallest Bible in the world to the International Space Station.
Developed at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology – the so-called “Nano Bible” is a 0.5 square-millimeter silicon nanochip on which the 1.2 million letters of the Hebrew Bible were etched with a focused beam of energetic gallium ions.
The Israel Museum in Jerusalem, where the Nano Bible is usually displayed alongside the historic Dead Sea Scrolls, will lend the one-of-a-kind Bible to Eytan Stibbe — who will take off to the International Space Station as early as the end of March as a member of the Ax-1 astronaut team.
“The Bible is the oldest and most important text for the Jewish people and one of the most important for the whole world. A cornerstone of human culture," said Prof. Uri Sivan, the creator of the first Nano Bible and the president of the Technion.
"The Nano Bible and its journey into space link the distance and time between the past and the future, between ancient human culture and the technological frontier."
Stibbe himself echoed Sivan’s sentiment, adding that taking the Nano Bible into space “will symbolize harmony between groundbreaking technology and respect for our heritage, as humanity.”
"It is an ancient text that was written using innovative technology and allows us to look with hope to the future, as well as with a smile to the past at the same time. I look forward to the opportunity to look at this technological marvel as I hover in space."
The Nano Bible was conceptualized by Prof. Sivan and his doctoral student Ohad Zohar in 2007, as part of an educational program developed at the Technion and designed to stimulate young people's interest in nanoscience and nanotechnology.
The copy Stibbe will carry with him to space was created by the Technion's engineers in honor of the jubilee celebrations for the Israel Museum in 2015.
Another copy was made in 2009 and presented as a technical marvel to Pope Benedict XVI by then-president Shimon Peres.