Wikipedia to the Moon - Extended version - English
From Ewan McAndrew on January 5th, 2017
Wikipedia to the Moon – in a nutshell
The Part-Time Scientists are one of five teams left competing in the Google Lunar XPRIZE challenge. Their goal is to reach the Moon by 2017, land their rover safely on the surface, have it drive 500 meters and send images back to Earth. There's not much room in a space vehicle for things to take along. Typically, this so-called payload is used for scientific experiments. The Moon rover that the Part-Time Scientists are building has room for some of those, but it also comes with a data disc that has been offered by the German Wikimedia Chapter, Wikimedia Deutschland, in order to use for Wikipedia.
Why not simply take a Wikipedia dump and put it on the disc? Because the available disc space is very limited and would not even hold one of the large language versions—even without version histories or media files. More importantly, Wikipedia is a truly global project and to date features content in almost 300 languages. Even if only a snapshot of Wikipedia can be brought to the Moon, its content will equal a genuine snapshot of the sum of all human knowledge. Thus, it should carry not only the quality of the work of the Wikipedia community but also its cultural diversity, its different perspectives, its many voices.
How to do it? How to decide? At Wikimedia Deutschland, we think that the best way to decide about a space-traveling snapshot of Wikipedia is to resort to the strengths of its basic principles: This is an anniversary gift to all Wikipedia communities all over the world. Let us discuss as a global movement and collaborate on-wiki. It’s a unique challenge in and of itself, because never before have all Wikipedia communities at the same time been called out to decide and work on a project with limited space … and time. In order to meet the payload deadline for the Moon rover, we have to work with an editing deadline, as well. Our goal is to have finished community discussions, decisions and content preparations by the International Volunteer Day (5th December) 2016:
5 December 2016. 39 million articles, 300 languages, thousands of editors. One disc with about 20 GB of data space.
Let’s take Wikipedia to the Moon!