The Moon may soon receive a gift of the Torah from Earth, as it did the Bible back in 1969. A $30 million competition which seeks participants to successfully land a robot on the lunar surface, is known as the Google Lunar X Prize. The Torah on the Moon Team is seeking to partner with one of the entrants, and the Barcelona Moon Team may be that possibility. Google Lunar X Prize is no stranger to being contacted in reference to making a deposit of some sort on the lunar surface.
Torah on the Moon is an Israeli-based project that would like to place a Sefer Torah, which is a hand-written scroll sacred to Judaism, on the Moon’s lunar surface. The New Scientist reports a space agency in the Netherland’s has revealed that it was approached to test the Sefer Torah’s space container, which is designed to protect the Torah from temperature changes and radiation for thousands of years to come. Next in line could be the Vedas scriptures and the I Ching. All of these texts date back more than 3,000 years, making them among the Earth’s most ancient documents. Paul Aquizerate, who founded Torah on the Moon in Tel Aviv, Israel, is looking to raise €12-€15 million to fund the project, as he believes these texts are significant to billions of people. He is passionate about the project and calls it incredibly beautiful. Though he realizes the precious cargo being of a religious nature could ruffle a few feathers, he assures people the mission should be viewed as one of cultural presentation.
Nicholas de Lange, a researcher in Hebrew and Jewish studies at the University of Cambridge, said the Sefer Torah is now the most sacred object in Judaism and carries unique symbolic value. His view is that the Torah should be treated with care and respect, and he is not so certain that shooting the sacred scroll into space is giving due reverence.
Privately funded firms are locking arms with movers and shakers in an attempt to vie for the big prize money in the Google-backed space flight competition. Target date for the first flight is near the end of 2015. In order to win the $20 million which Google is offering, the first privately funded team to land a robot on the moon, have it travel 500 metres and have it successfully return two videos before the end of 2015, will be the big ticket winner. Eighteen teams have enrolled in the event, two of which are sponsored by NASA, with full access to their scientific expertise and labs.
Looking to the future, libraries of culture and biological records may be escorted to the orb of night for the sake of preserving culture, in the event of Earth being struck by a pandemic plague, lethal asteroid strike or a nuclear holocaust. The idea is for the Moon to be an off-planet storage. It seems that the religious culture is leading the way for the rest of mankind, so the next gift the Moon receives will be the Torah from Earth.
It was July 29, 1969 when Astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, who was the second man to walk on the moon, landed the Apollo II lunar module with Armstrong. He recalls taking the King James Bible in microscopic type, all 1,245 pages, quoting the very first verse, having communion and declaring he knows infinity exists because he saw it. He said many gifts and souvenirs have been taken to the moon, but none has flown there more than the Bible.
Torah to the Moon continues to seek a privately funded group with whom to partner so that it can piggyback its scroll to the moon. Once again, the Moon is about to receive a gift from the Earth in the form of the Sefer Torah.
By Jill Boyer-Adriance