IF civilisation is wiped out on Earth, salvation may come from space. Plans are being drawn up for a “Doomsday ark” on the moon containing the essentials of life and civilisation, to be activated in the event of earth being devastated by a giant asteroid or nuclear war.
Construction of a lunar information bank, discussed at a conference in Strasbourg last month, would provide survivors on Earth with a remote-access toolkit to rebuild the human race.
A basic version of the ark would contain hard discs holding information such as DNA sequences and instructions for metal smelting or planting crops. It would be buried in a vault just under the lunar surface and transmitters would send the data to heavily protected receivers on earth. If no receivers survived, the ark would continue transmitting the information until new ones could be built.
Not a bad idea, overall, but why not put a few right here on Earth? Finding one of the proposed 4,000 receivers could be just as problematic as finding an 'ark' in the event of some global catastrophe.
As a form of back-up to an Earth-based system, this would be feasible, even desirable, but to put one of these facilities only on the moon seems a bit inexpedient.
If the expense of building 4,000 'arks' is an issue, why not put one on each continent and on the moon? Then you would have enough redundancy to hedge your bets. Hardened data repositories shouldn't be too expensive.
It seems that after an asteroid strike or global nuclear war, receipt of this information via radio would be difficult, if not impossible for some time. Having some 'hard copy' directions to these facilities might also be desirable.
If we're going to do this, then we have to go all the way. Relying solely on one moon-based transmitter is too risky. If one of many possible things were to go wrong, it'll be a waste of time and money, as well as being a major disadvantage for the survivors.
The idea of preserving the knowledge of our civilization is vital and important. It is also one that requires careful consideration. We need to think it through.