A few days ago I blogged about Elon Musk's launch of a Tesla space roadster, and you'll recall that I wasn't buying the story that this was just a "stunt" or that there wasn't the possibility of a "secret payload." Well, it seems others weren't buying that story either, and Mr. G.D. spotted this article about what that secret payload may have been:
The essence of this story is that the hidden payload was a vast new data storage technology:
Stashed inside the midnight-cherry Roadster was a mysterious, small object designed to last for millions (perhaps billions) of years – even in extreme environments like space, or on the distant surfaces of far-flung planetary bodies.
Called an Arch (pronounced 'Ark'), this tiny storage device is built for long-term data archiving, holding libraries of information encoded on a small disc of quartz crystal, not much larger than a coin.
The Arch looks like a shrunk-down DVD or Blu-ray, but its potential for data storage goes way beyond any optical discs you have in your home.
The technology, developed by physicist Peter Kazansky from the University of Southampton in the UK, can theoretically hold up to 360 terabytes of data, about the same amount as 7,000 Blu-Ray discs.
But even more impressive than the data capacity is the physical longevity of the medium – the first two discs, called Arch 1.1 and Arch 1.2, are said to be two of the longest-lasting storage objects ever created by humans, theoretically stable for up to 14 billion years, thanks to '5D data storage' inscribed by laser nanostructuring in quartz silica glass.
The Arch 1.2 disc currently making its way through space on Musk's Tesla Roadster at a cruising speed of some 12,908 km/h (8,021 mph) has been loaded up with Issac Asimov's Foundation trilogy – a seminal sci-fi classic, similarly concerned with the concept of preserving human knowledge and culture in a vast, unforgiving Universe.It's a mission perfectly aligned with the goals of the Arch's developers, who have named this maiden disc launch the 'Solar Library'.
"The Solar Library will orbit the Sun for billions of years," explains co-founder Nova Spivack.
"Think of it as a ring of knowledge around the Sun. This is only the first step of an epic human project to curate, encode, and distribute our data across the Solar System, and beyond."(Emphasis added)
Now, assuming all this to be true, my high octane speculations ran in many different directions. First, there is the notable assertion of data storage in artificially grown (quartz) crystal. Crystals have long been thought to be vehicles for data storage, and I speculated on this possibility in conjunction with the Sumerian legends concerning the Tablets of Destinies in my book The Cosmic War: Interplanetary Warfare, Modern Physics, and Ancient Texts. Now if this story is true, then there's a whopper doozie of an implication contained within it, for the assumption of a crystal data storage technology contains within it the implicit technology to retrieve such data. That in turn carries the further implication that if one suspected one had encountered a very old crystaline data storage unit of some sort, that one could possibly retrieve that data. Secondly, the idea that SpaceX's stunt of orbiting a Tesla roadster is "the first step of an epic human project to curate, encode, and distribute our data across the Solar System and beyond" raises yet another possibility, namely, that such a project was done in the distant mists of prehistory, and indeed, as I pointed out in The Cosmic War, something like that appears to be implied by some texts in the Mesopotamian "Epic" of Ninurta, which I have argued is hardly an epic at all, but rather simply an inventory of ancient technologies and of their destruction, and in some cases, secreting around the solar system.
But thirdly and finally (though I do not think the speculations here can be limited to just these three possibilities), I had to wonder if sending Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy - one of my favorite science fiction series - into space was not the only thing being done here. The article would have us believe that this was primary about sending data into space. But what if the real purpose was the opposite: to obtain data and write it on such disks for subsequent retrieval? After all, if their near "indestructibility" - a point which recalls, again rather too closely for comfort, similar assertions in the "Epic" of Ninurta of a class of objects that could not be destroyed and which therefore had to be hidden - provides a convenient medium for data storage, why not use them to record data and then send the disks back to Earth? After all, they are very small, and doing so would not be all that expensive nor technologically unfeasible.
In short, what disturbed me most of all about this article was its uncanny resemblance to that ancient text, and the disturbing possibility that it may be being used as a template of action regarding space matters. If so, then that in turn raises a further disturbing possibility, namely, that the "cosmic war" may not be over...
See you on the flip side...