Fifty years ago, people looked in wonder at the surreal photographs taken by astronauts on the Moon: the rocks they collected, the buggy they drove in, the tools they worked with... The most intriguing fact ? The bootprints and the equipment astronauts left behind on the Moon’s surface for eternity.
On Earth, natural forces such as wind, rain and earthquakes have weathered down buildings, monuments and the daily evidence of civilization such as tools, clothing and personal items. Historical artefacts like the Pyramids are standing, but we will never know about all the things that aren’t. The idea of protecting the things we make from the ravages of time is a recent phenomenon.
Founder of Sanctuary
But despite our best efforts, anything on Earth is subject to the same forces that shaped the planet itself. As our global civilization changes and perhaps even one day disappears, so will much of scientific and cultural importance that we have guarded. Space exploration has opened a door to a potentially eternal safe room. When creating Sanctuary, we recognized that there is value in the inherent mystery of the artifact. We are asking future explorers to step back in time and join us in our exploration of ourselves, our world and our epoch.
The Sanctuary time capsule will contain and preserve a compact collection of ultra-hard sapphire discs engraved with billions of pixels. Together, they will contain a precious cargo of human knowledge taken from the arts and sciences through time and deep into the future. Sanctuary's mission is to describe who we are, what we know and what we make.
Our time capsule will land on the lunar surface in the middle of this decade, where it will remain for millions of years to come. A unique philosophical and anthropological journey through the eons, and an unprecedented opportunity for humankind to safeguard and transmit our heritage to future generations.
The Sanctuary container, made of machined aluminum, will serve as a repository for the data stored on the discs. Mounted on a NASA lunar lander, it will be photographed on the surface of the Moon shortly after landing.
Aluminum has two advantages: it’s lightweight and highly resistant. Our combination of aerospace-grade aluminum alloy and cutting-edge engineering has resulted in the right balance between appealing aesthetics, ultra-high hardness, precision and lightweight materials. A protective box in which the discs stored will be slightly compressed, ensuring the integrity of a vault that should last for millions of years. A deep, everlasting finish will be applied to the container’s lid and a laser engraving on the surface will provide additional information about its precious content.
You can't send just anything into space. The materials must be assessed and evaluated again and again. A number of mechanical constraints will be tested on the entire spacecraft prior to launching, including the acoustics, vibrations, resonance, thermal qualities and potential outgassing.