Barbara Barzycka

This scientific time capsule contains an unusual treasure—300 live tardigrades

The recent history of our civilization has been synthesized into a handful of objects and buried where it isn’t expected to resurface for 500,000 years: 4 meters deep in a stainless-steel time capsule in Hornsund, a fjord near Svalbard, Norway, Nature reports. The objects include human and rat DNA samples, a silicon-based integrated circuit, coins, a mobile phone, a piece of the meteorite Pułtusk—considered the oldest material in the solar system—and even 300 live, desiccated tardigrades, write the scientists in the 28 September issue of Gondwana Research. The capsule, brainchild of Polish Academy of Sciences permafrost specialist Marek Lewandowski, is meant to represent our current knowledge of science and provide future archaeologists with snippets of everyday life to help them “understand who we are.” 

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