[Paper] Surviving global risks through the preservation of humanity's data on the Moon

by turchin3rd Mar 20185 comments



My, with David Denkenberger, article about surviving global risks through the preservation of the data on the Moon has been accepted in Acta Astronautica. Such data preservation is similar to the digital immortality with the hope that next civilization on Earth will return humans to life.

I also call this "plan С" of x-risks prevention, where plan A is stopping global catastrophe and plan B is surviving it in a refuge. The plan B was already covered in another my article about Aquatic Refuges (that is nuclear submarines), published in Futures. 

Plan C could be done rather cost-effectively by adding some eternal data carriers to many planned space crafts like Arch Mission is planning to do.

Link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S009457651830119X 

The article is behind the paywall but preprint is here: https://philpapers.org/rec/TURSGR


Abstract: Many global catastrophic risks are threatening human civilization, and a number of ideas have been suggested for preventing or surviving them. However, if these interventions fail, society could preserve information about the human race and human DNA samples in the hopes that the next civilization on Earth will be able to reconstruct of Homo Sapience and our culture. This requires information preservation of an order of magnitude of 100 million years, a little-explored topic thus far. It is important that a potential future civilization will discover this information as early as possible, thus a beacon should accompany the message in order to increase visibility. The message should ideally contain information about how humanity was destroyed, perhaps including a continuous recording until the end. This could help the potential future civilization to survive. The best place for long-term data storage is under the surface of the Moon, with the beacon constructed as a complex geometric figure drawn by small craters or trenches around a central point. There are several cost-effective options for sending the message as opportunistic payloads on different planned landers.


Keywords: Global catastrophic risks, existential risks, moon, time-capsule, METI



  • Catastrophic risks could be survived if the next civilization on Earth will reconstruct humanity. 
  • The next non-human civilization may appear on Earth around 100 million years from now.
  • Time-capsules with DNA and data could help in the reconstruction of humanity.
  • The most logical place for such data preservation is the Moon. 
  • Drawings on the surface of the Moon made of small craters can serve as a beacon.