The last steps
“Here Man completed his first explorations of the Moon, December 1972 AD. May the spirit of peace in which we came be reflected in the lives of all mankind.”
—Apollo 17 Lunar Module plaque
On December 14th 1972, Gene Cernan scribbled his daughter’s initials in the Moon dust of the Taurus Littrow valley. A few minutes later, the take off was captured by the rover’s remotely controlled camera. He was the last man to walk on the Moon.
Materials of the Apollo missions—rovers, descent stages, flags—remain on the Moon’s surface. They remain intact as frozen testimony of our craving for exploration.
frozen testimony of our craving for exploration
Earth will offer no such pristine preservation. Very few of our cultural artefacts are expected to survive if we ourselves relocate, evolve or become extinct.
Our next steps
The autonomous landing and navigation module (ALINA) will carry data collection devices, scientific experiments, and Sanctuary.
our epoch and our epic
Engraved on a collection of sapphire discs, Sanctuary is a message to our descendants, or to visitors from other worlds.
The discs will contain our collective and individual voices, to echo our epoch and our epic across the plains of Taurus Littrow.
Gone without a trace
The sense of our individual and collective demise has fascinated writers and scientists alike.
In his Crisis of The Mind, Paul Valéry wrote “We later civilizations … we too know that we are mortal.” He mourned “empires sunk without a trace, gone down with all their men and all their machines into the unexplorable depths of the centuries.”
Imagination and thinking
Richard Feynman wondered what single phrase could preserve a maximum amount of information for future generations if all scientific knowledge were to disappear. He imagined passing on our understanding of the world with the phrase “All things are made of atoms—little particles that move around in perpetual motion, attracting each other when they are a little distance apart, but repelling upon being squeezed into one another.”
Hello from yesterday
The Sanctuary project is an attempt by modern humanity to communicate with our descendants and with visitors from elsewhere and elsetime.
The Sanctuary will be composed of a set of ultra-durable sapphire discs that visually encode photographs, text and other data.
A love poem to the future
We are more than we know. Sanctuary will not only store collective knowledge but also vignettes of our subjective experiences and emotional expressions.
Sanctuary is a way for us to step forward in time while we step toward each other.
What is the Sanctuary project?
The Sanctuary project represents collective knowledge and individual expression, etched onto high-resolution sapphire discs that will be sent to the Moon. It is an intellectual and poetic artefact of our times.
What is the purpose of Sanctuary?
The aim of Sanctuary is two-fold. First, to identify, collect and assemble information, knowledge and artistic expression. Second, to create an artistic and scientific installation on the lunar surface that is a testament to our desire to discover and share the things that we find meaningful.
When will Sanctuary launch?
The planned launch date for Sanctuary is 2019. The launch of the 12-day mission will be from Cape Canaveral.
How will Sanctuary be delivered to the Moon?
Where will Sanctuary land?
Sanctuary will land on the Plains and Hills of Taurus Littrow near Mare Serenitatis (Sea of Serenity). The landing zone is a few kilometers from the site of Apollo 17, the last manned mission on the Moon.
Can I contribute to Sanctuary?
Yes! Stay tuned.
How will the information be stored?
The Sanctuary will comprise a set of 10 cm sapphire discs. The information on each disc will be stored as extremely high resolution images, approximately 6 gigapixels per disc.
The discs will be produced by Arnano and engraved using mineral thermolithography. The discs are incredibly durable—the information layer is actually sandwiched between two discs and resists both scratches (sapphire is the third hardest mineral known) and high temperatures.
Traditional optical media such as DVDs or M-DISC either have a significantly shorter shelf-life or are less stable in harsh environments.
How can information be retrieved from the discs?
Information on the discs is stored as an image. All that is required to read the discs is a microscope, or extremely good eye sight!
What information will be stored on the discs?
The discs will contain a selection of collective knowledge and individual expression. The Sanctuary team is currently working on assembling the material.
We will be releasing announcements about individual components of Sanctuary soon. We will be asking for your participation, so stay tuned!
mathematician,IAP / CNRS
Research scientist in data visualization, INRIA
Bioinformatics, genomeand data visualisation,BC Cancer Agency
Particle Physicist, CEA
Architect, Engineer & Designer
“How many ages hence
Shall this our lofty scene be acted over
in states unborn and accents yet unknown!”
”Snoopy“ and a Saturn V S-IVB Tank in heliocentric orbit