February 26, 2004

Offsite backup for world's languages

At 7:36am GMT (2:36am EST) on Friday, the Rosetta Disk is scheduled to be launched on board an Ariane-5 rocket from the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guyana. The mission's target is the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, which will be reached in 2014 after a "billiard ball" journey through the Solar System lasting more than ten years. This will be the first mission to orbit and land on a comet.
[European Space Agency Rosetta Mission]

The Rosetta Disk is a modern version of the Rosetta Stone. The 2-inch nickel disk is micro-etched with 30,000 pages of information covering over 1,000 languages. For each language there is a simple dictionary, a guide to pronunciation and counting, and a traditional story with translation. Additionally, to help language decipherment in remote futures, a translation of a common text (the first three chapters of the book of Genesis) is provided in all languages. The disk can be read with the aid of an optical microscope.

Posted by Steven Bird at February 26, 2004 01:27 AM