London, Mar 11 (UNI) A doomsday ark is being planned on the moon to help rebuild the human race in the event of a catastrophe on Earth.
The ark would contain DNA, embryos and all the essentials of life and civilisation, to be activated should Earth be devastated by a giant asteroid, a climate flip or nuclear holocaust.
Bernard Foing, the Executive Director of the International Lunar Exploration Working Group (ILEWG) said, ''The information bank would provide survivors on Earth with a remote-access toolkit to rebuild the human race.'' A basic version of the ark would contain hard discs holding DNA sequences and instructions for metal smelting and planting crops.
The vault could later be extended to include natural material such as microbes, animal embryos and plant seeds, as well as cultural relics such as surplus museum items.
As a first step to discovering whether living organisms could survive in the vault, European Space Agency (ESA) scientists are hoping to experiment with bacterial ecosystems and plants within the next decade, said Dr Foing, who is also the lead scientist for the ESA's SMART-1 lunar mission.
The first flowers-- tulips or arabidopsis-- could be grown in 2012 or 2015.
''Eventually, it will be necessary to have a kind of Noah's ark there, a diversity of species from the biosphere,'' Dr Foing said.
The scientists envisage placing the first experimental databank on the moon no later than 2020 and it could have a lifespan of 30 years. The full archive would be launched by 2035.
The databank would need to be buried under rock to protect it from the extreme temperatures, radiation and vacuum on the moon. It would be run partly on solar power, the Daily Telegraph reported.
''The damage to the Earth's environment from a large impact by an asteroid collission can be catastrophic, with fatal consequences for life. It is widely believed that the dinosaurs went extinct because of such an impact 65 million years ago,'' Dr Foing added.
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