The United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is partnering with a Florida-based computing startup, Lonestar, and the Isle of Man (the self-governing British Crown Dependency in the Irish Sea), for a project that pioneers the use of blockchain technology in NASA’s upcoming lunar missions.
The collaboration targets the use of blockchain technology to verify and secure data storage on the moon. It explicitly focuses on the upcoming Artemis missions.
In February 2024, NASA, Lonestar, and the Isle of Man plan to send a payload to the moon containing “data cubes.” These data cubes will store crucial information, and their integrity will be verified using blockchain technology upon their return to Earth. The ultimate goal is to use the same blockchain technology to provide irrefutable proof that humans have landed on the moon during NASA’s Artemis 3 mission in 2025.
Before Artemis 3, NASA’s Artemis program will reach its second phase with the launch of Artemis 2 in November 2024. While Artemis 2 will involve a crewed mission, it won’t involve landing on the moon’s surface. Instead, the mission will see four astronauts depart from the earth, orbit the moon, and return. This mission is the final test before the U.S. government proceeds with Artemis 3 to send humans to the moon’s surface again.
As one of the many scientific missions during the Artemis voyages, Lonestar and the Isle of Man will also come together to develop long-term lunar storage systems that rely on solar power and require no extra infrastructure.
In conversation with BBC Science Focus, Roosen, the head of innovation at Digital Isle of Man – the island’s government-funded agency that supports its tech sector, said, “[People often tell NASA] ‘You made up the moon missions’ and proving that they’re actually there is surprisingly difficult.”
The immutability of blockchain technology offers a reliable means of recording and verifying future lunar missions. Astronauts landing on the moon could interact with the data cubes, and their activities could then be recorded and verified using blockchain.
It would provide a real-time check-in mechanism for lunar exploration and indisputable evidence of human presence on the moon’s surface, which can help dispel any conspiracy theories surrounding lunar landings, a task that NASA has historically found challenging.
This project marks a significant milestone in the evolving relationship between blockchain technology and space exploration. With NASA’s Artemis program progressing, blockchain-verified data storage solutions open doors to authenticate historical space achievements and future lunar activities.
The writer is the founder at yMedia. He ventured into crypto in 2013 and is an ETH maximalist. Twitter: @bhardwajshash