About Beyond the Earth Foundation:
The Beyond the Earth foundation is an international, non-profit public benefits, education and research organisation which was initially established in 2016 to investigate the profound indelible legacies resulting from humanities' causal relationship with its' surrounding environment while also contributing to protracted information-conservation and communication strategies for the benefit of deep-time archaeology. The foundations' present emphasis is focused upon; (1) formally identifying the diverse fragments of humanities' cultural heritage that are perceptible within interstellar transmissions, space messages/ artefacts and the terrestrial biome in order to pioneer deep-time 'primer' communication strategies, (2) developing 'Companion Guide to Earth' introductory artefacts as an experimental, interdisciplinary platform to assess the feasibility of supporting deep-time archaeology from geocentric orbit while also contributing research to protracted communication applications, (3) conserving the memory of heritage resources/ deep geological waste depositories/ biosphere legacies as part of long-term planetary stewardship efforts and (4) investigating the significance of elements of orbital debris/ objects residing on other astronomical bodies as part of space archaeology studies. These generative investigations have already culminated into several essential publications and catalogues alongside database visualisations as part of our outreach, education and participation strategies.
The Beyond the Earth foundation, registered as a charitable entity in 2018 (SC048652), is governed by a multidisciplinary council of trustees who provide oversight and guidance on all activities alongside a number of voluntary project directors, collaborating partners and other committed agents who help us to deliver inspiring opportunities and educational activities across a number of disciplinary and cultural interests. Our principle objectives adhere to both the egalitarian and common heritage of humankind principles; premises of international law which designate that defined elements of humankinds' collective (cultural and natural) heritage should be held in trust and protected from exploitation for the benefit of future generations.
About the 'Companion Guides to Earth':
The long-term communication of 'essential' information is of moral and ethical interest to a number of global stewardship entities including bioethics observatories, climate/ biosphere regulators, planetary protection authorities and hazardous waste custodians as well as international communities who wish to preserve artifices of cultural heritage for the benefit of their descendants; records which should be responsibly committed to multi-generational memory for the long-term sustainability of our common home. Humanity is now authoring this indelible legacy of Earth through the many pioneering artefacts that enable protracted record-retention (such as the archives of our partnering organisations Memory of Mankind, the Long Now Foundation and Arch Mission Foundation) however, the creation of appropriate 'primers' that may be commensurable to our [biological or culturally] distant recipients is largely underexplored and necessitates intensive cooperation across disciplines that may otherwise seem unconnected. To investigate the strata of this multidisciplinary challenge, the foundation is collaboratively compiling an intersubjective 'Companion Guide to Earth' artefact that will be subsequently launched into a stable geocentric orbit; an introductory archive which will serve as a practical testing ground for exploring communication strategies while also addressing some of the long-held assumptions about our species' communication faculties. This inductive, cognitive tool will specifically focus upon correlating [mutual] epistemological properties based upon empirical constants while also conserving; interrelated elements from the plurality of Earth's cultural heritage, a variety of concise datasets from a multitude of disciplines and also the locations of additional terrestrial/ celestial vaults of civilisation for further extrapolation – all of which will be micro-etched onto a series of discs and encased within an 'Earth' capsule before being launched aboard a future geostationary satellite.
This introductory 'Rosetta Stone' and associated ideographic icons are principally developed as a multidisciplinary platform for practically probing the 'incommensurability issue' faced when communicating with hypothesised entities that may not share our epistemological foundations, social or cultural inclinations, cognition, morphology, sense modalities or other properties of convergent evolution. As such, this archive will employ intuitive cues, exo-semiotic primers (such as the auxiliary language 'Lincos') alongside corroborating redundancy information and strategic 'activity' testing phases in an attempt to understand and mitigate telluric partiality embedded within deep time and interstellar communicative activities as well as further supporting investigations into alternative primer strategies.
Space Archaeology & 'Heritage in Space':
The foundation is pioneering a concerted effort to peer-identify and track distinguished satellite infrastructure in geocentric orbit and on/ around other astronomical bodies; an inaugural catalogue which will serve as a basis for drafting formal international heritage registries and protection policies as well as to support further space archaeology studies in context with inter-agency debris mitigation guidelines and other principles of environmental/ biohazard management ethics. These items of celestial heritage are significant for our cultural landscape insofar as they collectively document the successive historical, technological, political, scientific and philosophical phases of our pioneering space generations in the Anthropocene era and should, therefore be subject to future conservation provisions in order to safeguard select elements for posterity.
As part of these activities, the Heritage in Space platform has been cultivated as an active catalogue and real-time 3D map of multinational objects in Earth orbit and in proximity to other astronomical bodies in order to collate public nominations, memories and oral histories of spacecraft necessary for formally determining the relevance of historical celestial artefacts. This registry is developed as a 10 year study to document the transient shell of 'significant' artefacts currently residing within extreme environments that regularly intersect protracted orbital zones (as defined by inter-agency debris mitigation consortia); regions of LEO and GEO that are essential for sustaining contemporary technological proliferation and scientific study of the Earth system. This index will thereafter enable essential multidisciplinary committees to assess whether identified heritage items within these regions may be feasibly preserved in situ while minimising the risk of debris accumulation in these vital orbits for the benefit of future space programmes.
In addition to this and as part of a concerted international effort to support the legal recognition, management and protection of off-world archaeological sites and artefacts, the foundation has contributed our paramount 'Catalogue of Human Heritage on the Moon' and affiliated research to the For All Moonkind consortium in order to support their formal legislative and heritage management activities within COPUOS proceedings.
About 'A Profile of Humanity' Study:
The 'A Profile of Humanity' study is a multidisciplinary, introspective investigation into the purposeful [communicative] signature of humanity and the Earth system that is presently accessible within 'messages' (space archives/ artefacts and interstellar transmissions) beyond geocentric orbit. In this, the study will attempt to examine the many narratives, concepts and media we presently employ within describing Earth at a distance to a number of dissimilar agents (i.e. analogous human civilisation, future terrestrial population(s), Extra-Terrestrial Intelligences, second-generation sentient life) as well as focus upon; (1) analysing the aggregate of these messages for disciplinary, cultural and geographic partiality, (2) ascertaining the homogenous nature of this content, (3) determining the role of meta data in providing alternative perceptions of the Earth system/ phylogenetic tree of life and (4) deducing missing or omitted subject(s). An initial catalogue of these contents was recently published in the International Journal of Astrobiology alongside an overview of this investigation and how it will address future communication-commensurability issues. Additional publications are currently pending release.