A Monday story in the Washington Post recounts a plan to place a hand written Torah on the lunar surface. The Torah would be sent to the moon likely on board a lander being developed for the Google Lunar XPrize. The scroll will be placed in a storage capsule designed to withstand the radiation and harsh temperature on the moon for at least 10,000 years.
A number of Christian bibles were carried to and from the moon by the Apollo astronauts. One was left on the lunar surface by the crew of Apollo 15. This was despite the lawsuit, ultimately unsuccessful, filed by atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair concerning the reading from the Book of Genesis by the Apollo 8 astronauts in orbit around the moon.
O’Hair’s premise was that religious expressions by astronauts on government space missions are unconstitutional. She eventually lost the suit in the Supreme Court, but NASA quietly clamped down on religious expressions by Apollo astronauts, compelling Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin to take communion on the lunar surface clandestinely. The Torah on the Moon project would not have that problem as it is being sent on a private expedition
The Torah will not be the last holy document to be sent to the moon. There are plans to also send a copy of the Hindu Veda and the Chinese I Ching on later flights. Interestingly, there does not seem to be any plans to take a Koran to the moon.
The plans to take holy scriptures to the moon raises the possibility of using Earth’s nearest neighbor as the site of an archive of human literature and culture. This would serve as a way to persevere some of the accomplishments of human civilization in the event that some catastrophe would destroy the human race and perhaps evidence of its existence on Earth. On the other hand, a human colony on the moon would save not only the culture of humanity but humanity itself in such an event.