A team of researchers from the University of Arizona, led by Jekan Thanga, proposed building a massive "ark" on the moon as a "modern global insurance policy" against natural disasters, socio-economic chaos, asteroids, and the threat of nuclear war.
"Earth is naturally a volatile environment," Thanga said in the study titled "Lunar Pits and Lava Tubes for a Modern Ark." The team debuted the study at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Aerospace Conference last Saturday.
"An ark, just like Noah's in the Bible, could store endangered species more cost-effectively than protecting them on earth or creating an artificial ecosystem," Thanga said.
The researcher proposed building the ark in a lunar pit and or lava tubes, holding upwards of 6.7 million species of seeds, sperm, eggs, and DNA.
Thanga said due to instability, Earth-based repositories, such as Svalbard, could leave specimens vulnerable.
Thanga's presentation explained that various species would be cryogenically preserved. "We can still save them until the tech advances to then reintroduce these species — in other words, save them for another day," he added.
To transport upwards of 6.7 million samples, it would take 250 rocket launches. By comparison, the International Space Station took only 40 rocket launches to build.