If we are honest with ourselves, as a civilisation we are doomed. Maybe we are not yet on the slippery slope and maybe it's not anything we should be ashamed of, nevertheless we will one day be gone. Most likely we will only decline to a point where our technology is lost, but we have the capability to wipe ourselves out completely.

There is an upside to this and that is that life, human or otherwise, will continue. Let us assume that one day there will be creatures roaming the planet with intelligence levels similar to that of early man. Maybe there is a way that we can help them.

I propose that we use the moon to communicate with the future inhabitants of the planet.

Humans have always had a fascination with the moon and there is no reason to doubt that it won't attract the attention of others in the eons to come. I believe that it gives us the perfect opportunity to leave a message that will survive any terran calamity and, unaffected by atmosphere or tide it will exist for as long as is needed.

It is important to consider that Earth's future tennants may begin with very little in the way of tools or knowledge, so the initial message must be something visible to the naked eye that looks out of place enough to demand further investigation. I suggest a simple square drawn on the moon's surface and covering about a quarter of the area visible from Earth.

Now we have their attention we can wait for the new guys to develop a simple telescope. Through this they will be able to see the moon in greater detail, so we can afford to make the next sign a little more complex. I suggest a nice matchstick man. This drawing would need to take up less space than the square, as the observer will now be able to see it more clearly.

Assuming that this will be enough to start Earth's future inhabitants on a quest to learn more about the moon we can then supply them with more and more detailed messages. As their tools develop they will uncover more advanced messages, introducing them to our modern/ancient language and the basics of our science. Along the way we can include warnings from our own history and maybe allow the new ones a way to avoid our own shortcomings.

Once we have got this far in our preparation we could even consider writing on the other side of the moon. That would really give them something delightful to uncover when they reached out far enough.

The beauty of this idea is that not only would it be a super cool thing to leave behind, but it is technically feasible with technology we could create today. Imagine it, big drawings could be done from Earth, simply by nuking the surface. It may not be perfectly neat, but at the least it would be good enough to draw our first symbols. Later we could send robots that rove around the lunar surface cutting our messages into it. We could even prepare for the very distant future by duplicating areas so that meteor impacts are unlikely to wipe out any message entirely.

As a final thought, if we had the inclination, we could build them a library on the surface itself.