About Our Mission

The Arch Mission Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit corporation designed to continuously preserve and disseminate humanity’s most important knowledge across time and space.

The Arch Mission designs, builds, delivers and maintains curated long-term archives, housed in specialy designed devices called Archs™ (pronounced “Arks”). Archs™ are being developed with a variety of form factors to survive for long durations in space, as well as on the surfaces of planets, moons and asteroids.

The Archs are already the longest-lasting records of human civilization ever created, and possibly that ever will be created. They will last billions of years longer than the Pyramids. They may even last longer than our planet. In a million years the Archs may be the only remaining trace of our species and our civilization.

The Arch Mission was inspired by the Isaac Asimov Foundation Series and was first written about in blog post by Nova Spivack, in 2015, here.

In 2015, Nick Slavin joined Nova Spivack to co-found the Arch Mission Foundation, and in 2016 the Arch Mission Foundation was formally incorporated. That year they were joined by Michael Paul and Matthew Hoerl, and in 2017 and 2018 the organization began to grow and attract a growing community of leading minds, leaders and participants.

The Arch Mission Foundation has grown from a somewhat impossible idea into an actual non-profit organization, that is already producing real Archs that carry human knowledge for millions to billions of years, today.

No longer science-fiction, the Arch Mission Foundation is on track to become a self-sustaining organization and community, with a unifying and inspiring purpose and agenda for humanity, spanning thousands to millions of years into the future.

 

 
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"That’s certainly the right way to go to store massive amounts of data for a long time." - Elon Musk

 

 

Technology

The Arch Mission is funding research and development into new storage media and technologies for preserving and spreading human data and knowledge across long distances in time and space.

We are developing specialized next-generation devices that we call Archs™ (pronounced “Arks”), which are designed to hold and transmit large amounts of data over long periods of time in extreme environments, including outer space and on the surfaces of other planetary bodies.

Our goal is to collect and curate important data sets and to install them on Archs that will be delivered to as many locations as possible for safekeeping.

To increase the chances that Archs will be found in the future, we aim for durability and massive redundancy across a broad diversity of locations and materials – a strategy that nature itself has successfully employed.

We are designing Archs with many form factors that optimize mass, storage density, and durability for different environments. Current technologies that we are using and/or actively developing and testing with partners, include:

  • 5D laser optical data storage in quartz

  • Nickel ion-beam atomic scale storage

  • Molecular storage on DNA molecules

  • Durable space-based flash drive storage

  • Long duration DVD disk technology

  • Quantum information storage

In order to accomplish these lofty goals, we continue to investigate and use a wide variety of emerging storage technologies, and we are funding a few R&D projects of our own too. We are technology agnostic and will continue to use and/or develop the best available data storage and data sharing technologies for our mission.

For you comic book and superhero fans out there, our quartz Archs (one of which was onboard the Falcon Heavy) are a lot like Superman’s Crystal of Knowledge (“Superman Memory Crystals”), which was used to create the Fortress of Solitude, but in real life.

These Archs are written by a femtosecond laser on quartz silica glass. Data is encoded digitally as 20nm gratings, formed by plasma disruptions from the laser pulses. Each dot encodes 8 bits in 5 dimensions of light. Theoretical capacity is 360TB per disk, and the Archs are stable for 14B+ years. No other medium offers this kind of data capacity and durability.

This new medium, the life’s work of Dr. Peter Kazansky (see photo), is expected within 10 years to achieve a storage capacity of 360 Terabytes per 3.75 inch disk of quartz (that’s 7000 Blu-Ray Disks!), and is stable for at least 14B years, under all kinds of conditions.

But in addition, to it is also possible to store an incredible amount of data for a really long time using DNA. We are working on this actively. We’ll reveal more about this work soon.

Note that the first Archs are very simple tests -- but we have given a lot of thought to how to make future Archs more accessible and understandable to potential recipients.

Read more in our FAQ, as well as in this very thoughtful blog post by Stephen Wolfram about the interestingly hard problems we must overcome. There is still much to figure out, but we have a solid basis and approach to start with.

 

 

Structure

The Arch Mission, the Solar Library, the Lunar Library, and the Mars Library, are initiatives of the Arch Mission Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit corporation founded in 2016 in Houston, Texas, and now headquartered in Los Angeles.

The Arch Mission Foundation is designed to become a self-perpetuating, self-funding organization that will continue to support the Arch Mission indefinitely into the future, even for thousands of years or longer.

To accomplish this, the organization must be designed to perpetuate, support and grow itself, by generating the necessary financial endowment and technological resources to conduct its mission.

 

 

Endowment

The Arch Mission is funded completely through tax-deductible donations today. In the future we also hope to receive additional support from government funding as well support from institutions and other foundations. 

The Arch Mission Foundation will require a large and growing endowment in order to self-perpetuate on an ongoing basis. This will be achieved through donations, grants, and government funding, and perhaps also through revenue from future commercial venture spinouts that build on or license technologies originally developed through the Arch Mission Foundations’ non-profit R&D programs.

 

 

Governance

The Arch Mission Foundation is in the early stages of organizational development and is presently governed by a two-person board of directors, with one open seat. A science and engineering advisory board has started to form. Early planning is underway to design the governance of the organization as it grows to include more participants and initiatives in the future.