Some years ago, Elon Musk’s personal Tesla might have gotten all the headlines during SpaceX’s historic rocket launch, but the Falcon Heavy also carried a second, secret payload almost nobody knew about.
Stashed inside the midnight-cherry Roadster was a mysterious, small object designed to last for millions (perhaps billions) of years – even in extreme environments like space, or on the distant surfaces of far-flung planetary bodies.
Called an Arch (pronounced ‘Ark’), this tiny storage device is built for long-term data archiving, holding libraries of information encoded on a small disc of quartz crystal, not much larger than a coin. The technology, developed by physicist Peter Kazansky from the University of Southampton in the UK, can theoretically hold up to 360 terabytes of data, while it can stay stable for up to 14 billion years, thanks to ‘5D data storage’ inscribed by laser nanostructuring in quartz silica glass.
The disc currently making its way through space on Musk’s Tesla Roadster has been loaded up with Issac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy – a seminal sci-fi classic, similarly concerned with the concept of preserving human knowledge and culture in a vast, unforgiving Universe. (1)
We like to preserve knowledge. So arrogant are we, that we think that what we think matters. And yet, everything we think or do are just a cacophony in the cosmic symphony of existence. Unable to see the cosmos in its unity, we try to break it into pieces and then we try to preserve those pieces as if anyone cared. Unable to grasp the tragedy of being, we try to reduce everything into pieces of inanimate matter and then we give those back to the cosmos as if the cosmos knows how to read…
And learn the only thing you need to learn…
Knowledge is not to be preserved.
Knowledge will be reduced to ashes!
There is nothing to learn.
Only things to forget…
And one step at a time.
Through fire and chaos.
We will reach our self.
There is nothing at the end, do you see?
Now go to sleep.
Of the beginning…