The likelihood of me going into space is pretty slim, but at least if I do there’s reading material up there now thanks to Elon Musk.
Last week, Musk’s SpaceX company launched its Falcon Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
On board the Falcon Heavy (now recognised as the world’s most powerful rocket) was a red Tesla Roadster, and onboard that red Tesla Roadster was a disk containing three novels.
The Isaac Asimov Foundation trilogy of course, because who says astronauts don’t have a sense of humour?
Leaving aside the interesting question of why anyone would want to send a car into space, the Tesla Roadster (and its literary cargo) is currently heading out past Mars.
It’s expected to reach the red planet’s asteroid belt before being pulled back towards the sun – a trajectory that could last millions of years.
While most of the buzz surrounding the launch focused on the rocket and the car, I think the books are the break-out story here.
Because this is arguably the most important milestone in the history of literature.
Imagine how tickled Asimov would be to know his creations are currently floating around the solar system. As a scientist, an artist and an all-round brilliant mind, I’m assuming he’d have been delighted.
And Asimov is just the start.
The specially-made disk that carries the novels is capable of holding 180 million books.
And it’s made from a material that’s pretty much indestructible so won’t degrade for another 14 billion years.
To put this in context, there’ve been roughly 130 million books published in human history.
So we could load every single book ever written onto a small disk and shoot it into orbit where it would be preserved for all time.
That’s pretty astounding.
Just as long as we skip the Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy.
(get more information on the story behind the space library here)