Life Sciences Insight

Twist Bioscience Collaborates With Beyond Earth to Launch Artwork Stored in DNA Into Space

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Oct. 27, 2020– Twist Bioscience Corporation (Nasdaq: TWST) and Beyond Earth, an artist collective, today announced a project to store high-resolution artworks in DNA to be launched to low Earth orbit and the Moon. Beyond Earth artists that will contribute work to the project include: Elena Soterakis, New York, NY; Richelle Gribble, Los Angeles, CA; and Yoko Shimizu, Linz, Austria and Tokyo, Japan.

To Space, From Earth is a Space Art DNA Capsule utilizing emergent technology and artistic expression to carry a visual message to space. Beyond Earth, an artist collective exploring the frontiers of art and space, partners with Twist Bioscience, a synthetic biology and genomics company, to encode artwork into silicon-based synthetic DNA to be launched on a spaceflight by 2022. Credit: Beyond Earth, Artworks by Elena Soterakis, Yoko Shimizu, Richelle Gribble Space Image: NASA Astronaut Photograph ISS60-E-071360, processed by Robert Simmon

In the ‘To Space, From Earth’ Capsule, select artworks made by members of Beyond Earth reference life on Earth and the current challenges we face referencing human population growth, consumption and degradation, and preservation of Earth’s biodiversity. Artworks reflect on the current geological age of the Anthropocene, where human activity has a dominant effect on climate and the environment. The artists chose to store this message of human impact in synthetic DNA, which is present in nearly all living organisms, to symbolize life on Earth. These artworks serve as a visual record of this current time; they reflect challenges of today to inspire new approaches for a better future. Beyond Earth chose Twist Bioscience to encode the artwork in DNA, as the company is leading the field of DNA data storage.

To store the artworks in DNA, they are digitized and converted from binary data to the DNA bases represented by the letters A, T, G and C. The encoded DNA sequences are synthesized with Twist Bioscience’s silicon-based platform and preserved in a specialized capsule. DNA is nature’s oldest and most resilient data storage method; no energy or maintenance is required to preserve it; it is ultra-dense and hence compact; and lasts hundreds of thousands of years making it the ultimate time capsule for any digitized artwork. For these reasons, To Space, From Earthwill endure the test of time and serve as an important record of human history and the biosphere.

Beyond Earth will co-create with space, revealing how spaceflight transforms and evolves artworks, and how space preserves or alters their message over time. Beyond Earth is not only exploring the unique storage capabilities of DNA, but also testing data retrieval when DNA is exposed to the harsh conditions of space.

About Beyond Earth:

Beyond Earth is an all-female international transdisciplinary artist collective. Our mission is to explore the frontiers of art, space, and biology through space-bound artworks. Such projects co-create with space, explore planetary themes and expand possibilities of artistic expression beyond Earth. We utilize scientific and artistic research to create and deploy artworks in space. We aim to uncover the vastness of creativity to represent a plurality of perspectives in space and envision the future of Earth. As artists, we believe that the sky is not the limit and creativity is boundless, accelerating culture and vision that transcends us.