We have an ambitious roadmap for the near-term and long-term activities of the Arch Mission.
The first Archs will contain a complete digital copy of the Wikipedia, as well as additional materials as space and budget permits. These additional data sets may include textbooks and reference materials for all academic fields, academic papers, artworks, musical works, literature, science, history, religion, philosophy, language, indigenous knowledge, schematics for various technologies, genomes for a broad diversity of species on Earth, and even custom content archives from sponsors.
The first set of goals are focused on replicating Archs in many redundant locations both on Earth, as well as in space, and around and on the surfaces of key planetary bodies in our solar system, as well as around it.
As the Arch Mission continues into the future we plan to include biological specimens as well, including DNA, cellular material, seeds, spores, and other ecological material -- for this too is our unique heritage, the product of millions of years of evolution on Earth.
In the medium-term timeframe we will begin to send Archs out of our solar system on longer missions to other star systems. Eventually we hope to evolve generations of Archs that will become increasingly autonomous and intelligent. We envision Archs that can travel, communicate and interact across vast distances. We will eventually seek to build Archs that can explore other solar systems and galaxies, and learn, teach what they know, and communicate what they find back to us.
Future generations of Archs will be able to autonomously explore the solar system and the universe, carrying the gift of our civilization's knowledge and biological materials, while discovering and collecting new knowledge and lifeforms as they travel. We imagine they will even evolve to be able to find and manufacture their own fuels and self-replicate to fan out in all directions.
As our biotechnology and nano-technology capabilities mature, we may even develop the ability to write portions of our Archs into the so called "junk DNA" of living organisms, in order to piggyback critical knowledge in the genome through reproduction wherever they go. DNA is one of the best long-term storage mechanisms and is a natural place to put messages to future generations of intelligent beings.
Perhaps someday there will be living Archs that pass down knowledge through their genetic lineages via the process of natural evolution. This knowledge will be accessible in the future to those beings when they develop the ability to detect and read it from DNA.
Maybe, due to our efforts, in thousands or millions of years, our Archs may reach other intelligent civilizations like us, circling far away stars, bringing to them the message of humanity. What greater gift can we give? What greater message can we send? What greater legacy can we leave?
The Arch Mission is a literal expression of the purpose of intelligent life in the universe, and therefore, if for no other reason, it's a Mission worth going on.
But we also envision that the Arch Mission will also have many other benefits to humanity, both in the near-term and the long-term.