peregrine collection toronto

Toronto man sending time capsule to the moon in an attempt to spread joy

Did you know that you can actually send your own personal payload to the moon? A Toronto writer is doing just that, and he decided on a time capsule of stories and art for his lunar cargo.

Samuel Peralta, author of Future Chronicles and The Zoo at the End of the World, initially wanted to put something creative on the moon as his own personal project, but in the midst of the pandemic ended up including 1,200 artists and writers in a capsule he's calling The Peregrine Collection.

"I'd heard about the coming launch of the Astrobotic Lunar Lander last year. It's the first privately-owned lunar lander, in the same way SpaceX is a privately owned rocket launch platform," Peralta told blogTO.

"In the same way NASA contracts SpaceX for some missions, NASA contracted Astrobotic to put scientific payloads on the Moon. In the same way, I contracted Astrobotic to put a payload on the Moon.

"The thought was: what if we could spread some of that joy to others, to give them some hope during this uncertain time. I joined a group putting the works of authors on the Moon, 125 of them, but I thought I could do more. So I commissioned more payload space, and more, until I had enough to fit the works of 1,200 artists and writers."

Peralta's first payload went to mission control in October 2020, and his final payload was delivered on Mar. 1, 2021. Astrobotic's Peregrine Lunar Lander should hopefully be launching around July 2021 on United Launch Alliance's Vulcan Centaur rocket.

"For the books part, I decided to focus on my short story anthologies, The Future Chronicles. I had about 21 of them, and with about a dozen authors per anthology, that would allow me to send stories from a few hundred authors. A few more anthologies and collections allowed me to send about 400 authors," says Peralta.

"For the art part, I realized that an art group I worked with in the past, PoetsArtists, produced group exhibition catalogues and special art issues that collected anywhere from 50 to 100 artists. I did curate a couple of exhibitions with them in the past. In the end, that allowed me to digitize the images of around 800 artists."

The capsule also contains digitized music, screenplays, lyrics, and according to the Peregrine Collection site, even "a representative example each of a peer-reviewed scientific paper, an issued U.S. patent, and the first draft of a unique book of poetry - a collaboration between Dr. Peralta, as his poetic persona Semaphore, and the A.I. poet OSUN."

"In the end, I had a collection of 1,200 creative artists in the collection, representing all the world, including Canada, the US, Europe, India, Australia, and more. A little research told us that this was going to be the first time any project ever attempted to put the work of women artists on the moon," says Peralta.

He added that the collection represents "an amazing diverse group of writers and artists, in terms of gender, style, nationality."

"All of these were digitized, loaded onto special memory cards, and forwarded to Astrobotic for inclusion in their payload," he said.

With so many people involved, Peralta decide to keep the fact they'd be included in the capsule a secret and announce it as a surprise.

"Only I and a couple of people, including the editors of the anthologies and art catalogues that I used, knew what was going on, so when they learned about it, it was a surprise. For many of them, this kind of news, coming in the middle of a global quarantine and lockdown, has been like sunshine," says Peralta.

"US artist Michelle Buchanan called us 'a force of love in a time of despair.' For all of them, it was amazing that a big part of them, their stories, poetry, screenplays, music, and art, would be on the moon. Many said the moon would become even more special to them when they saw it in the sky."

It will take three days for the lunar lander to reach the moon, where the time capsule will then remain in perpetuity. Peralta expects the launch and landing will likely be streamed.

Lead photo by

Antosia Fiedur

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