Recently, American scientists published a research report, proposing the “Moon Ark” as a “modern global insurance strategy.” They propose to send DNA samples of the 6.7 million species known so far on the Earth to the moon for preservation, so that super volcanic eruptions, global nuclear wars, asteroid impacts, epidemics, climate change, global solar storms and droughts can occur on the earth. In the event of a major disaster, the genetic diversity of the earth can be preserved.
In order to protect DNA samples from space radiation, cosmic meteorite collisions, and huge temperature changes, the author of the “Lunar Ark” research report and a professor at the University of Arizona School of Engineering, Jackan Sanga, proposed that the “Ark” be built in the lava tube of the moon. . The lava tubes that are ubiquitous on the earth are formed by lava ejected from volcanoes. The lava’s surface cools and forms a hard crust. With the end of the volcanic eruption and the decrease in temperature, the lava in the hard crust disappeared, forming a huge tunnel, that is, a lava tube. This similar formation process also occurs on the moon. At present, scientists do not know how this kind of cave was formed. It is speculated that it may be caused by the pressure formed by meteorite collision, moon earthquake, and gravity of the earth. Scientists use computers to conduct simulation studies to determine the stability of lunar lava tubes with different top shapes, widths and thicknesses. The research results show that the lunar lava tube with a width of more than 5 kilometers is very stable in structure.
Scientists envisaged that the micro-jumping and flying robots should first be sent into the lunar lava tube to collect samples of the weathered layer or loose rock and soil, understand the layout, temperature and composition of the lava tube, and ultimately guide the design of the “Ark” base. The researchers’ idea is to install an elevator shaft in the opening of the lava tube. The elevator shaft will serve as the entrance and exit of the cryopreservation module below, so that robots or astronauts can move in and out of samples just like borrowing and returning books in a library.
Jacques Sanga pointed out that only by storing these genetic information in other parts of the solar system can they ensure that they survive any threats to the earth’s existence. The reason why the moon is an ideal shelter for the “Ark” in outer space is that the moon is only 4 days away from the earth at the speed of the existing human spacecraft. At the same time, the lava tube on the moon can ensure the safety of the “Ark”. Scientists said that the entire project is expected to be completed within the next 30 years. However, they also pointed out that the entire project still faces many technical difficulties. Among them, the main problem is the high cost. Building the “Ark” and transporting DNA samples of 6.7 million species will cost hundreds of billions of dollars, and the samples must be stored at extremely low temperatures ranging from minus 180 to minus 196 degrees Celsius. Such a low temperature is undoubtedly a huge challenge for robots that carry out operations. In addition, the amount of work required to build the “Ark” is huge. According to rough estimates, after the scientists freeze the biological samples, it takes about 250 rocket launches to transport the biological samples to the moon. In comparison, the total number of rocket launches that assemble the International Space Station in low-Earth orbit is only 40.
Library “settled” on the moon
Before planning to store DNA samples of 6.7 million earth species on the moon, scientists had managed to transport the first “lunar library” there to “settle home.” On February 21, 2019, the US Space Exploration Corporation launched the Israeli “Genesis” lunar lander to the moon. The “Genesis” lunar lander weighs about 585 kilograms, has a diameter of 2 meters, and a height of 1.5 meters. In addition to carrying scientific instruments, it also carries an “Arch Lunar Library” created by the Arch Mission Foundation. The Arch Mission Foundation, established in 2016 in California, USA, is a non-profit organization that aims to store archives of human knowledge in a library called “Arch” and send it to space. The project is inspired by the book “The Base Trilogy” by American science fiction novelist Isaac Asimov. The work takes the Milky Way as the stage, depicts the survival and development of human beings, and tells the story of a group of scholars and artists. They take active actions to protect human intellectual property and avoid the impact of the upcoming dark age of the galaxy, which is expected to last for thousands of years.
“Arch Lunar Library” is like a 120mm thick DVD disc, composed of 25 thin nickel discs, each only 40 microns thick.
The data content of “Arch Lunar Library” reaches 200GB.
On September 27, 2018, the Arch Mission Foundation, the University of Washington, and Microsoft Corporation jointly announced the “Arch Lunar Library” project to send electronic data such as pictures, multimedia products and books uploaded by the public to the moon for permanent preservation. According to scientists from the Israeli Space Agency, the “Arch Lunar Library” is like a 120 mm thick DVD disc, composed of 25 thin nickel discs, each only 40 microns thick, containing up to 30 million pages of documents. The contents of the first 4 thin nickel discs are more than 60,000 pages of books, pictures, illustrations and documents. The first thin nickel disc includes 1500 pages of text, images, logos and other data, which can be viewed at a magnification of 100 times. The next 3 thin nickel discs can be viewed at 1000x magnification. They store 20,000 text images and photos, including a primer on more than 1 million concepts and a linguistic guide that introduces 5,000 human languages. books. There is also a complete data on English Wikipedia and the history of Israel, with technical instructions, detailed access methods, decoding methods, and scientific and engineering knowledge instructions for further study. If the “Arch Lunar Library” is decompressed, the data content can reach 200GB.
On April 4, 2019, the “Genesis” lunar lander was successfully captured by the moon’s gravity, so Israel became the seventh country to send a probe into lunar orbit. According to the original plan, the “Genesis” lunar lander should reach the moon on April 12, 2019, and land at a location named “Chenghai” on the moon’s surface. However, due to the failure of the main engine, the “Genesis” lunar lander fell short and crashed. On the monthly table. The Arch Mission Foundation and other related organizations believe that although it did not land as expected, the “Arch Lunar Library” carried by the “Genesis” lunar lander was still sent to the moon. The question now is how to find this “Arch Lunar Library”. An aerospace engineer believes that the crater created by the impact of the “Genesis” lunar lander is large enough for relevant NASA equipment to recognize, but it is still too difficult to find such a tiny “library.” To this end, Israel has launched the “Genesis 2” moon landing program and will launch the country’s second lunar lander within 4 years. The Arch Mission Foundation’s “Arch Lunar Library” program will also continue.
Regarding the failure of the “Genesis” lunar lander mission, Nova Spivak, co-founder of the Arch Mission Foundation, said: “After all, only storage materials that can survive for a long time can achieve the goal of’billions of years’. The new technology, made of nickel, allows the hard disk to remain extremely resistant at low cost, which can ensure that the data is not easily destroyed. The current situation is that we have either built the first’library on the surface of the moon’ ‘, or leave the site of the’library’ on the moon for future archaeological use.” Some people may think that building a “library” on the moon is a waste of money. In fact, this move is of far-reaching significance, because catastrophic extinction events have occurred on Earth, and they are likely to happen again.
In this regard, the Arch Mission Fund is ambitious. With the glorious mission of protecting the precious knowledge and biological heritage of mankind, it plans to build more “space libraries” around the solar system and add a backup of human civilization data that can circulate for hundreds of millions of years. For example, the future “Mars Library” will provide a huge data set for Martian residents, including a large amount of important knowledge from the Earth and copies of most of the Internet, in case it is lost in the future as a backup. In the epic project planned by the Arch Mission Fund, the first is to build the “space library” into a “knowledge circle” around the sun, and finally to connect all the “space libraries” to integrate the scattered read-write data sharing network into “Solar System Library”. It will orbit the sun for billions of years, spreading human civilization and knowledge to every planet in the solar system, and even across the solar system.
There is a “seed bank” in the Arctic
For scientists, the idea of creating a gene bank to restore biodiversity is not new. As early as February 2008, the Svalbard Global Seed Bank with an area of about 1,000 square meters was put into use, and it stored more than 1 million seed samples. It is located in a mountain that is more than 1,000 kilometers away from the pole in the Norwegian Arctic Circle. It was built by the Norwegian government on the Svalbard Islands in the Arctic Ocean in March 2007, and was supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. It is expensive to build, costing a total of 9 million U.S. dollars, and its annual operating cost is about 100,000 to 200,000 U.S. dollars. The location is remote, the climate is harsh, and the permafrost is not conducive to human habitation, but it can keep the seed bank away from “natural and man-made disasters”. It is known as the “Noah’s Ark” of global agriculture.
When designing the “seed bank”, scientists fully considered the worst possible dangers in the world now and in the future. For example, in order to prevent any structural damage caused by a mountain collapse, the concrete walls are up to 1 meter thick. For another example, if it is built 130 meters above sea level, even if the ice cap on Greenland and the ice layer in Antarctica are completely melted and the sea level rises by 7 meters, the “seed bank” will not be submerged and can continue to be dry. status.
The qualified seeds selected by various countries are sealed in a special three-layer aluminum foil bag and sent to the “seed bank”. After the engineer classifies each seed sample, it indicates all the information such as its variety, provenance and age, and transcribes it into a scientific Websites that search for information frequently in the world. Just enter the seed code and you can find them in the database. The working principle of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is similar to that of a bank’s vault. Only depositors can open and receive the stored seeds.
The entrance to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is advanced in design and equipped with metal mirrors that reflect sunlight during the day and sparkle at night. Entering from the gate is a 120-meter-long tunnel that goes deep into the sandstone mountain and leads directly to three independent seed storage rooms 45 meters long, 4 meters wide, and 4 meters high. Each sample holds about 500 seeds. From the entrance to the storage room, there are 5 explosion-proof hatches in the middle, which can withstand a magnitude 6.2 earthquake or nuclear attack. The “seed bank” always maintains a low temperature of minus 18 degrees Celsius, and is a natural “large refrigerator”. It is not affected by temperature changes and is suitable for long-term storage of seeds. For example, wheat and barley can be stored for 1,000 years, while sorghum can be stored for 19,000 years.
The Svalbard Global Seed Bank is located in a remote location, has a harsh climate, has a permafrost zone, and is far away from “natural and man-made disasters.”
The engineer classifies each seed sample, indicating all the information such as its variety, provenance and age.
However, the Svalbard Global Seed Bank is not the only seed bank on the planet. There are about 1,700 “seed banks” managed and operated by different countries and organizations around the world. The Southwest my country Wildlife Germplasm Bank in Kunming, China, was formally started in 2005 and completed and put into operation in 2007. It has become Asia’s largest collection and preservation institution for wildlife germplasm resources. As of the end of 2020, 10,601 species of 85,046 wild plant seeds, 2,093 species of plant in vitro culture materials, 24,100 copies, 7,324 species of DNA materials, 65,456 copies, 2,280 species of microbial strains, 22,800 copies, and 2,203 species of animal germplasm resources, 60262 copies have been preserved.
Since every country has its own “seed bank”, why bother to send seeds to the Svalbard Global Seed Bank in the Arctic? It turns out that the “seed banks” distributed in various places are not very safe, and are threatened by water shortages, earthquakes, wars or other natural disasters from time to time. For example, the National Seed Bank in the Philippines was destroyed by floods and was destroyed by fire after reconstruction. The seed banks in war-torn areas such as Afghanistan and Iraq were severely damaged. Perhaps the best answer to this question is the Syrians, who are the first country to extract seeds from the Svalbard Global Seed Bank. In September 2015, due to the civil war, the country’s seed bank in Aleppo, the country’s largest city, was blown up, unable to provide drought-tolerant crop seeds suitable for local cultivation. They had to apply to the Svalbard Global Seed Bank, requesting to take out nearly 130 boxes of the 325 boxes previously stored there, totaling 116,000 crop seed “backups” and return to China for replanting. In the second year, qualified seeds will be re-selected and sent back to the Svalbard Global Seed Bank for storage.
Because of its special structure and geographical environment, the Svalbard Global Seed Bank accepts seed “backups” from many national, regional and international seed banks around the world, which fully embodies its status as an “Apocalyptic Seed Bank” “the value of. Perhaps the true end of the world is still very far away from us, but maybe 20 or 30 years later, the global climate will become extremely dry, floods are inundated, and even many countries have frequent wars, which can restart farming civilization and save the hope of mankind. It depends on the millions of crop seeds frozen there. However, in any case, mankind has a common wish, that is, looking forward to the day when the “Doomsday Seed Bank” will never be activated.