Grants:IdeaLab/Wikipedia likes Galactic Exploration for Posterity

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Wikipedia likes Galactic Exploration for Posterity
Geraldshields11 proposed launching copies of the good articles of Wikipedia into outer space. He proposes to call the series “Friendship”.
contact emailgeraldshields11(_AT_)
Hex icon with lightning white.svg
idea creator
Hex icon with hand white.svg
created on16:42, 1 June 2014

Project idea[edit]

In 2015, I rewrote my proposal to send Wikimedia into outer space. Please see Grants:IEG/Wikipedia likes Galactic Exploration for Posterity 2015 or this link.

At the Idea Lab, Micro Sat Project Team on 31 May 2014

Welcome, brainstormers! Your feedback on this idea is welcome. Please click the "discussion" link at the top of the page to start the conversation and share your thoughts.

With the recent intentional destruction of human culture in the Middle East, I advocate to preserve the good articles for future Earth-descended generations and, possibly, alien civilizations. The project would consist sending copies of Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects, of several languages, into outer space using various means.

In the short-term, I propose sending copies of Wikipedia, in several languages, as a piggy back on various nations' and organizations' space missions. This idea is similar to Voyager space probes sent by NASA, which included a plate with carved human figures and a phonograph-type record so that if extraterrestrials ever saw it they could understand what humans looked like and sounded like. However, this project is more likely intended as a time capsule to show future human generations, what was important to humanity in the far past, similar to time capsules.

The name was inspired by a Star Trek:Voyager episode called Friendship One. In the episode, the Earth government, before joining the United Federation of Planets, launches a probe to spread culture and information in the Milky Way Galaxy. Also, the airplane race around the Earth, called Friendship, was an inspiration.

What is the problem you're trying to solve?[edit]

There are several problems that are being solved by this effort.

  • To preserve the good articles for future Earth-descended generations and, possibly, alien civilizations.
  • To prevent groups from censoring Wikimedia with a massive delete key, such as the activities of in the Middle East or in Asia in the past.
  • The issue that is being addressed is to conserve our efforts for posterity.

What is your solution?[edit]

Friendship 1[edit]

In May 2014, I discussed the idea with fellow Wikipedians at the WikiConference USA 2014 to promote Wikimedia, STEM, and space exploration.

As of 2015, I modified the mission and the solution is to send Wikipedia to a place where the Islamic State cannot touch it easily and would be difficult for others to censor it.

As of 10 March 2015, I received a message from a satellite maker and launcher and was told that a SD card slot is available for use as a piggy back on an already planned mission. The satellite is already built for a non-Wikipedia purpose. The satellite launch is scheduled for the end of 2015. Currently, the satellite maker and launcher is asking how much the group can financially support the project.

As of 12 March 2015, I sent an email to JPL/NASA about the concept of "Has there ever been any discussion on sending an electronic copy of the good articles of ... Wikipedia?" for future missions. The email was sent to the Dawn Mission Command at the Contact us page.

As of April 2015, I sent an email to Lunar Mission One.

As of 7 April 2015, I contacted the Wikipedia offline team and their idea page about the OpenZIM files.

I got permission to be the cultural payload specialist for the purposes of sending Wikipedia into outer space.

As of 4 May 2015, I joined the team of Lunar Mission One. Later, the Wikimedia Foundation was contacted.

On 26 June 2015, the Internet Archive was contacted.

As of September 3, 2015, I am working with Lunar Mission One, with the Wikimedia Foundation and the Internet Archive, to create a public cultural database to store on the Moon.

Project goals[edit]

  • No one has sent Wikipedia, Wikimedia, or WikiCommons into outer space. We would be the first to do it.
  • It may increase name recondition of Wikimedia and its subcomponents.
  • It may increase STEM coolness.
  • It may increase the coolness and hipness of NASA, "intended to be an introductory flight opportunity to provided exposure to, and spark interest in, space based science missions" similar to 41.110 UO KOEHLER/COLORADO SPACE GRANT 6-26-2014.
  • This is my Ada Lovelace STEM project.
  • If found by the Earth-descended, in the far future, then it may act as a w:en:Rosetta Stone for historians.
  • Avaition buffs will associate this launch with a similar named around the world speed flight.
  • Star Trek fans may be recruited to improve articles to good status.

Project milestones and frame work of Friendship 1[edit]

  1. Form a Galactic Exploration committee to handle a campaign to fund the financial support of the piggy back ride on a satellite.
  2. Contact various space-related organizations for support.
  3. Get permissions to piggy back on a satellite from various organizations.
  4. Ask for a Donation or purchase a 512 GB SD card (Media Contact:Michael Diamond, Global Public Relations, e:, p: 408-801-1108) or other non-volatile storage medium to place on the space craft.
  5. Extract the good articles of Wikipedia and WikiCommons and place on storage medium.

Proposed Fund raiser campaign[edit]

Levels of funding[edit]

  • $10 – your name in the data as a supporter of this satellite Friendship 1
  • $20 - your name in the data as a sponsor of this satellite Friendship 1
  • $30 – your name in the data as an explorer of the satellite Friendship 1
  • $100 - your name and Wikipedia User page in the data as an explorer of the satellite Friendship 1
  • $1,000 – your name etched into the frame and your name and Wikipedia User page in the data as an explorer of the satellite Friendship 1
  • $10,000 – use of your voice to record of predetermined greeting, written by program manager
  • $100,000 – use of your voice to record a greeting you create with final approval by program manager

Next Generations and Specifications of future micro satellites[edit]

In the very very long-term, I propose creating a micro satellite containing non-volatile bubble memory chips wrapped in a sphere-shaped photovoltaic panels powering a simple radio transmitter. The photovoltaic panels will power the radio and transmit only when the micro satellite comes close to a star. The radio signal will consisted on short beeps and long pauses. The radio signal will start with one beep then a pause, then two beeps then a pause until ten beeps then a pause before repeating one beep and so on.

  • Build a micro satellite and launch it into orbit
  • of nonvolatile computer memory to store the good articles of Wikipedia in several languages
  • with photovoltaic panels to act as skin
  • and with a simple radio transmitter for a beep based on the Fibonacci number sequence (or Golden ratio sequence).

Project stages[edit]

  • Friendship 1 - Low Earth orbit - like Sputnik launch - This is currently in progress.
  • Friendship 2 - High Earth orbit - like Mercury launch
  • Friendship 3 - L5 point - like Apollo launch[1]
  • Friendship 4 - another star within 20 light years from humanity's home star, The Sun with a rocky planet in the habitable zone - like Voyager launch

Future Friendship 3[edit]

Friendship 3 will be designed like the KEO satellite was meant to be.

Friendship 3 is a small passive satellite all set to embark on a 50,000 year odyssey.

Passive signifies that it has no energy, no instrumentation, no electronics aboard. Once in orbit, Friendship 3 will rely entirely on the forces of nature to return to its native soil. These forces include:

  • laws of ballistics,
  • planetary and lunar attraction,
  • pressure of solar radiation,
  • and friction due to the dense atmospheric layers.

The orbit desired for Friendship 3 is a circular orbit with an inclination of less than 57° and an altitude of 1,800 km. Keeping in mind the duration of its mission, 50,000 years, this orbit is a compromise between the current launch possibilities and the capacity of its structure to sustain cosmic radiation and resist micrometeorite and debris impacts.

Secondary passenger on launch vehicle

Friendship 3's core body is a sphere with a diameter of about 0.8 meters, with a total wingspan of approximately 10 meters, weighing less than 100 kgs. Due to its light volume and small mass, Friendship 3 can fly as a secondary passenger on a launch vehicle heading towards the appropriate orbit.

Friendship 3 will be cushioned by several protective shields:

  • anti-atomic oxygen shield, composed of an aluminum layer, to limit oxidation,
  • anti-cosmic ray shield, composed of successive layers of titanium and tungsten to reinforce the natural protection provided by the Van Allen belts,
  • anti-meteorite and anti-debris shield, several layers of heavy materials are intertwined with vacuum,
  • thermal shield capable of resisting up to 2800°C and responsible for the artificial Aurora Borealis that will be created during Friendship 3'S return to Earth.
Wings animated by shape memory alloys

Once in orbit, Friendship 3's wings will take life, fluttering in rhythm to its passage under the Earth's shadow and the sun's ray, similar to that of a beautiful migratory bird gliding across the horizon. To enable its wings to beat, Friendship 3 uses a leading-edge technology: shape memory alloys. These are metallic alloys which "learn" to assume different shapes according to different temperature ranges and revert to these shapes each time they are put back under the same temperatures. Here, we are exploiting the difference in temperature between shadow and sunlight, so that during its journey around the Earth, Friendship 3 will naturally spread its wings when it is touched by the sun's rays and fold them when it re-enters the Earth's shadow.

Artificial Aurora Borealis

A few moments before landing, due to the heating effect as it glides across the numerous layers of atmosphere, Friendship 3'S specially prepared thermal shield will trigger off an ionization phenomenon, creating a shower of luminous lights, resembling the Northern Lights.


The archeological gifts carried by Friendship 3 are protected by an internal anti-shock shield made of metallic sponge encased in a titanium shell. This shield can resist an impact speed at re-entry of a maximum of 103.3 m/s., comparable with today's re-entry vehicle performances. The density of the returning shell has been calculated to be inferior to 1 so as to ensure buoyancy in case of sea landing.


Get Involved[edit]


  • Geraldshields11 (talk) 21:20, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Volunteer I would like to help in any way I can, even if it's just promoting the project via social media. GlamChem (talk) 01:45, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
  • I can donate. -- econterms (talk) 14:33, 7 June 2015 (UTC)


  • Geraldshields11 (talk) 21:20, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
  • The act of sending a digital copy of Wikipedia out into deep space is (1) powerfully symbolic, (2) affordable (if a space mission is going anyway), (3) represents a kind of backup against catastrophe. It uses public domain data, not representing a private interest. In a small way it represents us, the people who wrote it, as our publication that went the "furthest". econterms (talk) 00:33, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
  • I think this idea is a brilliant way of preserving knowledge for future generations! GlamChem (talk) 01:46, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
Wikipedia to the Moon at Wikimedia Affiliations Conference.jpeg