Moon Base and Digital History

Digital history and the prospects of maintaining one platform that records all the world’s history, media, events, slices of life, goes further that the public historian. It reaches as far as the moon. One issue that is brought up with archiving information is what happens in a calamity. What if there is a natural disaster and originals as well as on-line documentation is destroyed, what then?

Several professors at NYU thought about this question and came up with the prospect of erecting a moon base that would catalog life on earth on the moon: a large database full with DNA, plant and animal species, as well as historic documents, records, movies, everything. The foundation was originally called Alliance to Rescue Civilization , (ARC), and has been enveloped into the Lifeboat Foundation, (

This is a historians dream, since one of the basic principles of safeguarding world documents is to have data storage on the moon. This was one of the selling points. If a calamity strikes in your corner of the world all the backing up won’t help you, but if you buy storage on the moon, you’re all set. This might hold appeal for historians and museums alike.

Of course, some of Lifeboat’s mission is doom and gloom, but it presents the same ideas and principles of saving records and history. This also brings up the issue of teaming up with other historians and perhaps even scientists to work collectively to save, record, and catalog digital history.

But who chooses what will make it to the moon, or online at the local historic chapter? Time, money, and censorship will continue to be an issue I discuss. Who is saving history, and what history will they choose to save and digitize?

To read more on the moon base:


Life After Earth: Imagining Survival Beyond This Terra, by Richard Morgan, New York Times, Aug 1, 2006.

Only available as an archive, this pdf shows a comprehensive plan developed by Robert Shapiro to entice would be investors to design the moon base. arcframework3

Robert Shapiro is the founder and professor emeritus and senior research scientist in biochemistry at New York University.

By William E. Burrows, another organizer of ARC, and member of the Lifeboat Foundation. Of course, this is a LIMITED PREVIEW on Google, which really means YOU CAN VIEW IT IN FULL!  Survival Imperative Book

Lifeboat Foundation:


~ by disembodiedspirit on September 13, 2008.

One Response to “Moon Base and Digital History”

  1. As you probably already know, there is a big seed vault somewhere in Norway that is suppose to save all the world’s seeds in case of catastrophe. I gather that historians want to do the same thing with recorded history. But what happens if someone drops a bomb on the vault in Norway? What happens if the moon, where the earth’s database is, is destroyed by some unforeseen disaster? (Actually, if something happened to the moon, I think we’d have bigger problems than just losing information…heh.) No solution is perfect…but we can make the best of it with what we have, and have the knowledge and ideals to improve upon it.

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