Moon dust and magic mysteries mingle at Beresheet crash site
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Lunar library

Moon dust and magic mysteries mingle at Beresheet crash site

Magician David Copperfield’s secrets part of 30 million pages of human knowledge that could have survived Israeli lunar crash

One of the last photos taken by Beresheet before crash landing into the moon on April 11, 2019. (Courtesy SpaceIL)
One of the last photos taken by Beresheet before crash landing into the moon on April 11, 2019. (Courtesy SpaceIL)

Somewhere in or near the new lunar crater produced by the crash of the Israeli Beresheet spacecraft lies a small stack of metal discs etched with 30 million pages of human knowledge — including the secrets to famous magic acts, the organization behind the effort tweeted Wednesday.

“Closely-guarded secrets to David Copperfield’s magic tricks are somewhere on the moon after he handed them to Israel to launch into space on its failed Beresheet probe,” the Arch Mission Foundation tweeted.

The 62-year-old from New Jersey, who is Jewish, is considered the most successful illusionist of modern times.

Produced with the goal of preserving the knowledge of mankind, the Arch Lunar Library carried by Beresheet was the first in a series of lunar archives designed to preserve the records of human civilization for billions of years, the foundation said.

In this Nov. 6, 2017 file photo, David Copperfield attends the 14th Annual CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund Gala in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

“We have either installed the first library on the moon, or we have installed the first archaeological ruins of early human attempts to build a library on the moon” said Arch Mission Foundation co-founder Nova Spivack.

Despite successfully reaching lunar orbit, the tiny Israeli spacecraft crashed during a landing attempt on April 11. Project leaders vowed they would fix the technical problems behind the crash and make a second attempt to become the fourth nation to safely land a probe on the moon.

The library contains a 30-million page archive of human history and civilization covering all subjects, cultures, nations, languages and genres. It is housed in a 100-gram (0.2-pound) stack of 25 nickel discs, each only 40 microns thick, that were etched using nanotechnology.

Some of the 25 discs each only 40 microns thick containing the 30 million page archive of human history and civilization that were carried on the Beresheet spacecraft that crashed on the moon. (Arch Mission Foundation)

“It’s hard to know how the stack fared, but taking the construction of the lunar library into account we believe it has a high chance of being intact,” Spivack said, adding it could be “retrievable by people in the future.” 

Engineers believe that the spacecraft was moving at 500 kph (310 mph) when it smashed into the lunar surface.

“It would then become interesting to try to locate it on the Moon, if possible.”

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield appeared to accept the challenge, calling the discs “a 30 million page Frisbee on the Moon — I hope to pick it up some day.”

Aside from history, literature, and science, there are several private archives including an Israeli time capsule containing the culture and history of Israel, songs, and drawings by children.

In this file photo taken on December 17, 2018, a digital time capsule including drawings by Israeli children, pictures of Israeli symbols like the flag, Israeli songs and a booklet written by a Jewish man of his experience of the Holocaust, which would go on to be placed in the Beresheet spacecraft, is displayed during a presentation by Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL and Israeli state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries in Yehud, east of Tel Aviv. (Jack Guez/AFP)

Along with the magic secrets, the collection contains nearly 200 gigabytes of content including the contents of Wikipedia and tens of thousands of fiction, non-fiction and reference books.

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