Japan to Launch Lunar Library on Moon to Preserve World's Languages

By Thea Felicity

May 27, 2024 05:44 PM EDT

Shinichiro Sakai, JAXA's SLIM project manager, explains the mission results of the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) during a press conference in Tokyo on January 25, 2024.
(Photo : KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)

A Japanese spacecraft is set to deposit a disc containing messages in 275 languages on the Moon later this year. According to the South China Morning Post, this "Lunar Library" aims to protect and preserve humanity's linguistic diversity in case of a catastrophic event on Earth. 

The project, announced by the UN's cultural agency Unesco and Japan's private lunar robotic exploration company ispace Inc., is scheduled for launch this winter as part of the Hakuto-R Mission 2. 

Founded in 2010, ispace Inc. focuses on developing robotic spacecraft and advanced technologies for exploration and transport missions.

Sending cultural artifacts to space for preservation is not entirely new. Several previous missions, such as Voyager 1 and 2, have included symbolic messages or items intended to represent human culture and knowledge.

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Japan's Lunar Library on the Moon

Now, the nano-engraved nickel plate disc will contain versions of Unesco's constitution preamble, advocating for cultural diffusion and education for justice, liberty, and peace. 

The disc will also include cultural treasures such as "Le Petit Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupery and images of 100 paintings from various historical eras. 

This initiative addresses concerns about the potential loss of languages due to natural disasters, climate change, or global conflicts. 

Despite a previous mission setback in April 2022, the company plans seven more lunar missions, including efforts to explore the Moon's far side and develop water resources.

Compared to other lunar missions, Japan's project is far more "humane," considering both China and Russia will be building a Nuclear Power Plant, which could disrupt the Moon's environment.

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