Much of what we’ve left in space has been done out of practicality. Used pieces of spacecraft, lost satellites, and even dune buggies and garbage don’t get returned to Earth because it would be too difficult or energetically costly do bring it home. Not everything we’ve relocated to the cosmos was a leftover though, as many people would like to make a more proactive statement about our species than just being messy. A project in development now seeks to put a bit more of human culture on the Moon beyond our equipment and sun-bleached flags.
Menagerie of mini-monuments
The MoonArk is slated to travel to the Moon on a future mission funded by the Google Lunar XPrize. Rather than carry the usual array of drills, sensors and broadcasting equipment that usually get carted out of our atmosphere, this small capsule will carry more culturally significant items, intended as examples of our humanity for possible extra terrestrial visitors, as well as conceptual art for those of us remaining on Earth. The contents of the small capsule would likely be slightly confusing removed from their original context, but will hopefully add up to a picture what the human race is capable of in 2016.
The contents of the MoonArk are now being finalized, all meeting the requirement that they’re tiny to fit within their allotted six ounces. Projects include drops of blood from genetically modified goats to blood from 33 different artists mixed together. There are tiny murals made of photos from text messages, as well as delicate, platinum-engraved disks with illustrations of flora and fauna found on Earth.
Sharing through satellites
The MoonArk isn’t the first time humanity has tried to explain itself to possible alien observers. In 1972, NASA launched Pioneer 10 and 11 to explore a path past Jupiter and towards the star Aldebaran, 68 light years away. They’re both fitted with small, gold plaques describing homo sapiens, and where to find Earth. In 1977, Voyager 1 and 2 were launched, and are currently leaving our solar system. Each satellite carries a golden record, engraved with images, maps, explanations and even musical selections, the selection of which was overseen by Dr. Carl Sagan. Since they’re based on analog LP technology, instructions and a stylus for playing the record are helpfully included.
Source: An Artistic Time Capsule Prepares To Hitch A Ride To The Moon by Irina Zhorov, NPR