As a historical researcher, I studied Beresheet’s manifest as if it was Columbus’ inventory on the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria
I described all of the items on Beresheet’s manifest in my Times of Israel (TOI) blog.
(See TOI blog— “Beresheet: A Eulogy And A Lesson Learned”, in which I noted the fatal engineering flaws of not putting a mezuzah nor a hamsa on the spacecraft.)
I pondered the religious significance of each and every item housed in this four-legged, washing-machine sized robot.
My blog focused on how excited I was that Israel was attempting a soft landing on the moon; how disappointed I was when it crashed.
Then months after the crash, I learned that a thousands of living beings, tardigrades, were aboard Beresheet.
Tardigrades are now on the Moon!
Q: What the hell are tardigrades?
A: They are water dwelling, eight-legged, segmented micro-animals are AKA water bears or moss piglets.
I pictured the banner headline in the New York Daily News—Jews Send Piglets To Moon—Is This Kosher?)
My research began.
Wiki said these resilient creatures:
“…have been found everywhere, from mountaintops to the deep sea and mud volcanoes, from tropical rainforests to the Antarctic. Tardigrades are among the most resilient animals known, with individual species able to survive extreme conditions—such as exposure to extreme temperatures, extreme pressures (both high and low), air deprivation, radiation, dehydration, and starvation—that would quickly kill most other known forms of life. Tardigrades have survived exposure to outer space.”
Immediately, two questions arose in my researcher brain:
Q: Why didn’t I learn about their flight until months after the crash?
A: Obviously, the tardigrades presence on Beresheet would have been a major distraction.
The significance of the mission would have been lost in space.
The media and some scientists would have focused on whether the Israelis were intentionally destroying the Moon’s environment.
Tardigrades are also publicity-shy creatures.
Q: Who wanted these water bears on the moon?
A: The Arch Mission Foundation.
Q: What the hell is the Arch Mission Foundation?
A: They’re a non-profit that archives the knowledge and species of Earth for future generations.
Case solved they are a bunch of science nerds seeding the Moon in case mankind destroys the Earth.
Q: Do historical researchers I always followed the money?
Q: Who are the Arch Missions financial backers?
A: I recognized Microsoft, University of North Carolina, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Haifa, SpaceIL, Wikimedia Foundation, Project Gutenberg (with its 59,000 free eBooks) and illusionist David Copperfield (Sing Sesame Street song—One of These Things Is Not Like The Others.)
The other named partners were alien to me.
But one of these companies caught my interest.
Astrobotic which provides payload delivery services on Moon landers and rovers.
So if you want your remains resting on the Moon—Astrobotic is where you start.
But don’t forget, Tardigrades are already crawling all over the Moon.