The “payload” is the stored information that serves as a time capsule for the University of Michigan’s Bicentennial Celebration. One aspect of the payload is the information from interviews of students, faculty, alumni, and staff that make up the community of the University of Michigan. This information is required to survive the harsh space radiation environment for 100 years, and yet be light and small enough to fit in a 3"x3"x0.5" space. 

 The currently pursued and well-tested solution is to use Electron-Beam Lithography to physically engrave data onto a surface. The University of Michigan’s Lurie Nanofabrication Facility (LNF) has these capabilities and has assisted with the development of the payload. With the skills and expertise of the LNF staff, we are successfully executing this complex procedure.

 

This information will come mainly in the form of 3 formats, text, images and audio. The text files are nothing but a simple ASCII coding where by the written data will be encrypted. The image files are first translated into a bitmap file format of very high resolution to achieve very good accuracy, contrast and sharpness on the output etched image on the data chip. The data engraved on the silicon chip can only be read through a Scanning Electron Microscope or an Atomic Force Microscope when the time capsule is retrived in 100 years.