Message in a space capsule: Art works preserved in DNA break free of the biosphere

Art works stored on DNA data storage will be fired into Space in 2022. The pieces by three members of the all-female Beyond Earth collective, are responses to human population growth, consumption and degradation, and preservation of Earth’s biodiversity.

The works are digitised and converted from binary data to the DNA bases represented by the letters A, T, G and C. The encoded DNA sequences are synthesised with California startup Twist Bioscience’s silicon-based platform and preserved in a specialised capsule.

Beyond Earth artworks

Beyond Earth says that DNA is nature’s oldest and most resilient data storage method. No energy or maintenance is required to preserve it, it is ultra-dense and compact, and it lasts hundreds of thousands of years, making it the ultimate time capsule for any digitised artwork.

Beyond Earth’s mission is to explore the frontiers of art, space, and biology through space-bound artworks. To Space, From Earth will endure the test of time, it says, and serve as an important record of human history and the biosphere.

Of course, once in space the artworks will likely constitute write-once-read-never storage – unless they are somehow retrieved and read by our alien overlords.