An intelligible archive in geosynchronous orbit, and cognitive semiotics research experiment, developed for practical outreach and engagement within the long term conservation of ‘essential’ planetary stewardship information.

Northern Hemisphere

COMPANION GUIDE TO EARTH

 

The 'Companion Guide to Earth' is a highly-collaborative introductory, micro-etched archive which is developed as an experimental testing ground to support practical experimentation within deep-time archaeology and communication strategies. Please browse the 'Companion Guide' below.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

Mass:             ~0.1821 kg

Diameter:      ~32 mm

Weight:          0.4015 lb

Materials:       Hemispheres  -  Space-Grade Aluminium

                        Protective Shell  -  Alkali-Aluminosilicate

                        Disc  -  Nickel Composite

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Southern Hemisphere

 
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ABOUT THE COMPANION GUIDE TO EARTH

As a practical, interdisciplinary exercise in preserving the comprehension of protracted ‘waste’ legacies, and maintaining long-term record retention of related materials over intervals of geological time, the foundation is committed to developing a 'Companion Guide to Earth' for geosynchronous orbit. This ‘Companion Guide’ artefact will serve as an experimental platform for exploring baseline communication of ‘essential’ resources for deep-time archaeology and planetary stewardship applications, under the operating assumption of a unidirectional ‘interrupted’ transfer of information; examining the theoretical and semiotic limits of simply conveying a signified meaning across expansive ‘broken’ periods of time, using isolated a priori artefacts of material culture. Generally, time capsules and similar archival devices become redundant antiques of their creator’s lifetime, traditions and other customs once removed from associated cultural, social, linguistic and semiotic influences, leading to commensurability challenges as these communities gradually change.


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 various pioneering artefacts that enable protracted record-retention (such as the archives of our partnering organisationsMemory of Mankind, the Long Now Foundation and Arch Mission Foundation) and other personalised ‘gestures to eternity’. However, the creation of suitable 'primers' and tailored libraries that may be commensurable to the gamut of unknowable, distant recipients is largely underexplored, and necessitates intensive cooperation across disciplines that may otherwise seem unconnected.

 

To investigate the varying strata of these multidisciplinary challenges, the foundation is collaboratively compiling the intersubjective 'Companion Guide' artefact as a practical testing ground for exploring non-continuity communication strategies, while also addressing some of the long-held conventional assumptions about our species' communication faculties in these culturally-isolated devices. This inductive, cognitive tool will specifically focus upon correlating [mutual] epistemological properties, based upon common ‘life-world’ experiences and simple observations gleaned from the nearby planetary surface, while also conserving; useful interrelated elements from Earth's diverse cultural heritages, a variety of specifically tailored datasets, and also the locations of additional vaults of civilisation for further extrapolation – all of which will be micro-etched onto a series of discs and encased in a small 'Earth' capsule, before being launched aboard a future geostationary satellite.


This introductory 'Rosetta Stone', and assortment of ideographic icons, are principally developed as a multidisciplinary platform for practically probing the 'incommensurability issue' faced when signifying meaning, using material signs, to hypothesised entities that may not share our epistemological foundations, social or cultural inclinations, cognition, morphology, sense modalities or other properties of convergent evolution – considerations that are frequently explored within SETI literature. As such, this archive will employ intuitive cues, exo-semiotic primers (such as revised elements of the auxiliary language 'Lincos'), alongside corroborating redundancy information, and strategic 'activity' testing phases, in an attempt to understand, and mitigate, types of partiality embedded within our deep time and interstellar communicative activities, while also supporting investigations into alternative primer strategies.

It is acknowledged that this Companion Guide to Earth artefact will likely never be recovered from Geosynchronous orbit. Despite this, the simple, creative exercise aims to promote long-term thinking and stewardship planning, while establishing a suitable platform to further foster research within the semiotics dilemma of conveying information across generations in a legible manner — either through infrequent encounters with space/time-capsule artefacts, or enduring memory-retention schemes. Such captivating journeys into the unknowns of space and time, are highly engaging and tap into an emotive desire for long-term thinking, which may only prove beneficial for adapting our minds towards deep time planning and stewardship prospects.

 

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