One of the key benefits of the Arch Mission Foundation™ is to provide a planetary backup of important human knowledge, that can persist for at least thousands to millions of years, and is not vulnerable to extinction level events on Earth.
While we hope that a planetary backup is never needed, it's always wise to have an insurance policy in place. There have been hundreds of known civilizations that have risen and fallen in the history of our planet, and on average none of them has lasted more than a few hundred years - and many have been completely lost.
Extinction level events and planetary catastrophes have happened many times in our geological past, and by some accounts the probability that another one will occur is increasing with time.
Yet today, as well as all the natural risk factors that have always been present, humanity’s own technologies (and stupidity) are introducing new risks that didn’t exist before. Environmental destruction, global warming, antibiotic resistance, radioactive and chemical waste, nuclear war, electromagnetic pulses, rogue biotechnology and nanotechnology, and many other self-made threats, could collapse our civilization, destroy our species, or simply knock us back by decades to centuries in our development.
Whether it is decades or a million years before the next such event, eventually our fragile ecological niche will be threatened, and our only hope of survival is to prepare in advance, and ultimately to spread beyond it.
How can we preserve our vital knowledge in the case of a severe threat to our existence?
Other than stone, most of our storage media decays rapidly with time. Our own present civilization is increasingly reliant on perishable digital storage media that lasts only around 50 years. Without a concerted effort to backup this knowledge in a form that can survive for millennia it is more likely than not that it will perish.
With all these risks, it would simply be unwise not to take steps to preserve our knowledge in a safe place, and in a form that can survive for the long-term, beyond the fragile ecological niche of Earth.
Education & Understanding
As well as protecting vital knowledge in the future, The Arch Mission Foundation will also serve as an inspiring catalyst for space education and international collaboration and understanding for people living in the present era. We will involve students and educators, as well as the wider public, in helping to contribute to and curate data sets, and to design and distribute Arch™ Libraries.
As well as design competitions and conferences, we also hope to provide grant funding and internships to help further the goals of the Arch Mission Foundation, while inspiring new generations of students and researchers to help humanity become a spacefaring species.
Innovation & New Technologies
The Arch Mission Foundation will catalyze the development of many new technologies as a byproduct of developing and distributing Arch™ Libraries.
To disseminate Arch Libraries across the solar system we will need to innovate new technologies for long-term data and biological storage that can survive in the harsh environments of space and other worlds.
We will also need to develop new delivery vehicles and new software and hardware to eventually enable Arch Libraries to autonomously travel, communicate, teach, explore and learn. The Arch Libraries may ultimately be not only the carriers of human civilization and knowledge, but they may one day help to gather new knowledge as they travel to the stars.
Facilitating A Spacefaring Civilization
In addition to the many benefits cited above, the Arch Mission Foundation will play an important role in facilitating humanity's transition to a spacefaring species and civilization.
As we spread across our solar system, and eventually beyond it, we need to bring our knowledge and biological record with us so it is accessible locally to humans, wherever we go. The Arch Mission Foundation will develop the technologies to make this possible.
In the near-term Arch Libraries will function as a system of data caches, making our knowledge accessible anywhere in our solar system.
Knowledge will be uploaded to Arch Libraries, and or added to the network of Arch Libraries, and then will be replicated across the entire Arch™ Library network to other Arch™ Library nodes located around the solar system over time.
Initially replication will be through adding new Arch Libraries, and/or replacing older Arch Libraries with updated Arch Libraries. But our goal is to develop read-write store and forward capabilities across the solar system.
A solar system wide Arch Library system, perhaps facilitated by new storage media, caching and communication protocols, and emerging blockchain technologies, will make it possible to decentrally access and add to the network of Arch Libraries from any location in our solar system, without delays or any centralized points of failure.
As humanity sends out deep space probes and interstellar exploration missions, we will piggyback Archs along with them, spreading the Arch Mission Foundation and the Arch Network™ farther into space and time.
Perhaps one way to gauge humanity's maturity as a spacefaring species could be by measuring how far away from Earth our Arch Libraries have spread, and how long they will persist in time.
Wherever humanity goes, so shall go the Arch!