In early April, Israeli astronaut Eytan Stibbe will set off for the International Space Station as a member of the Ax-1 crew and as part of the Rakia mission. Stibbe will take with him the Nano Bible - developed and produced at the Technion - and donated to the Israel Museum, Jerusalem
The Nano Bible is the smallest, most innovative copy of the Bible. Technion scientists engraved the 1.2 million letters of the Bible on a gold-plated layer of silicon (on a surface the size of a grain of sugar) by means of a focused ion beam
Astronaut Eytan Stibbe will take with him to the International Space Station a copy of the Nano Bible, developed at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. The unique item was lent to him by the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, where it is currently on display in the Shrine of the Book alongside the Dead Sea Scrolls. Stibbe will take off into space in early April as a member of the Ax-1 crew and as part of the Rakia mission.
The Nano Bible is the smallest, most innovative copy of the Bible in existence. Technion scientists engraved the 1.2 million letters of the Bible on a gold-plated layer of silicon (on a surface the size of a grain of sugar) by means of a focused ion beam. The ancient text on the chip can only be read using a microscope capable of 10,000 times magnification. While creating the Nano Bible, Technion researchers sought to demonstrate the wonders of miniaturization and how this ultimate modern-day miniaturization can be used.
The idea of miniaturizing the Bible was conceived in 2007 by Professor Uri Sivan, now President of the Technion, and Dr. Ohad Zohar of the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute (RBNI), as part of an educational program intended to increase young people’s interest in nanotechnology. The production of the chip and development of the software that allows engraving to be carried out was performed by engineers in the Zisapel Nanoelectronics Center (MNFU) at the Technion.
“The Bible is the oldest and most important text for the Jewish people, and one of the most important for the entire world. It’s a cornerstone of human culture,” said Technion President Prof. Uri Sivan. “Taken into space, the Nano Bible connects distance and time, the past and the future, and ancient human culture with modern technology.”
Eytan Stibbe: “The Nano Bible that I’ll take to the International Space Station symbolizes harmony between groundbreaking technology and respect for our heritage as humanity. Creating a copy of this ancient text, using innovative technology, allows us to look into the future with hope while remembering our past. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to look at this technological marvel as I float in space.”
To mark the jubilee celebrations of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, held in 2015, Technion engineers prepared a special copy of the Nano Bible, which was presented in the Shrine of the Book – the home of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the renowned Aram Tzova Crown from the 10th century. The exhibition first presented the 21st century Nano Bible against the backdrop of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Additional copies were prepared at the Technion and awarded to Pope Benedict XVI and to the Dibner Library in the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., which is part of the Smithsonian Institution.
The Rakia mission is led by the Ramon Foundation in cooperation with the Israel Space Agency and the Ministry of Science and Technology. The underlying goal of Rakia is to recognize the prospective benefits of space exploration. Its purpose is to draw on the curiosity associated with human space travel and to unleash its creative potential by raising awareness to the importance of preserving Earth’s limited resources and fostering a commitment to international collaborations and the advancement of space research. As an educational endeavor, students, educators, researchers, intellectuals, and the general public will be stimulated by their exposure to the many scientific experiments conducted on board the space station and equally by the demonstrations of the use of Israeli technology. The mission’s educational goals will be furthered by the live transmission of educational content to Israeli children and the unique opportunity to see Israeli art being made and exhibited. Because no dream is beyond reach.
A video showing the Nano Bible: