A Planetary Backup


Archs serve as backups of important human knowledge, which could be useful in the remote but not impossible case that such a backup is ever needed. While we hope that this particular benefit of the Arch project is never necessary, it's wise to have an insurance policy just in case.

In fact, 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 at most.

Extinction level events such as asteroid impacts, orbital shifts, solar flares, global vulcanism, ice ages, and dramatic sea level increases, have happened many times in our geologic past, and by some accounts the probability that another one will strike is increasing. Whether it is decades or thousands of years before the next one, eventually our fragile ecological niche will be threatened, and our only hope of survival is to spread beyond it.

But today as well as all the standard natural risk factors, humanity’s own technologies are introducing new risks that didn’t exist before: environmental destruction, genetic damage, nuclear war, electromagnetic pulse weapons, damage from out of control biotechnology and nanotechnology, and many other self-made threats could collapse our civilization, destroy our species, or knock us back hundreds or thousands of years in our development. 

How can we preserve our vital knowledge in the case of a severe threat to our existence? Other than stone, most storage media decays rapidly with time. Our own present civilization is increasingly reliant on digital storage media that lasts only around 50 to 100 years and are highly vulnerable to a variety of electromagnetic risks such as EMPs. 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 and Understanding

The Arch Mission will serve as an inspiring catalyst for space education and international collaboration and understanding. We plan to involve students and educators at all levels in helping to curate data sets, and to design and distribute Arch devices.

As well as design competitions and conferences, we also intend to provide grant funding and internships for students and researchers to help further the goals of the Arch Mission in the future, while inspiring future generations of students and researchers to help humanity become a spacefaring species and civilization.

Innovation and New Technologies

The Arch Foundation will catalyze the development of many new technologies as a byproduct of developing Archs.

To disseminate Archs across the solar system and out into the cosmos we will need to develop many 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 enable Archs to autonomously interact, teach, explore and learn.

Facilitating A Spacefaring Civilization

In addition to the many benefits cited above, the Arch Mission 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 wherever we go. The Arch Mission will develop the technologies to make this possible. 

In the near-term Archs can function as a deep space peer-to-peer network of store-and-forward data caches, making vast amounts of big data and knowledge accessible anywhere in our solar system. Knowledge could be uploaded to the nearest Arch and could then be replicated across the entire Arch network to other Arch nodes located around the solar system. This would make it possible to access the Arch network locally from any planet or location in our solar system, without long delays.

As humanity sends out deep space probes and interstellar exploration missions, we will piggyback Archs along with them, spreading the Arch Mission and the Arch Network farther into space over time. 

Perhaps one way to gauge humanity's maturity as a spacefaring species could be by measuring how far away from Earth our Archs have spread.