Moon Storage Unit

by Tracy R. Walsh

A plan to send a “library of cultural and biological records” to our lunar companion – where, as Paul Marks calmly explains, “they would be preserved in case Earth suffers a pandemic plague, nuclear holocaust, or lethal asteroid strike” – is apparently in the works. Sacred texts would be the first in line:

The Torah on the Moon project, based in Tel Aviv, Israel, has been courting private firms to deliver a handwritten Jewish scroll, the Sefer Torah, to the lunar surface. If they succeed, later flights will carry Hindu scriptures called the Vedas and the ancient Chinese philosophical work, the I-Ching. Each document will be housed in a space-ready capsule designed to protect it from harsh radiation and temperature changes on the moon for at least 10,000 years. “This is an incredible, beautiful project,” says group founder Paul Aouizerate, an entrepreneur and inventor. “These three texts are among Earth’s most ancient documents, created over 3,000 years ago. They are significant to billions of people.”

But not everyone’s behind the idea:

“The Sefer Torah has unique symbolic value and is nowadays the most sacred object in Judaism,” says Nicholas de Lange, a researcher in Jewish and Hebrew studies at the University of Cambridge. “Such an object is supposed to be treated with extreme respect and care. I find it hard to believe that shooting it into space can fall under this heading.”