Build the Best Time Capsule Ever!

by Moin Uddin Ahmed Tipu

If the world ends on Friday what becomes of humanity’s accomplishments- our art, our history? Is there any way to preserve it if we all go up in flames? Anthony has all the details on the way scientists say is the best way to preserve humanity’s work.

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Dear Future Earthlings

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33 comments

ballooniecat July 9, 2014 - 5:05 AM

Incidentally, the idea of a time capsule resonates with me because humanity has learned a lot about the universe and life in general, and it bothers me a bit that all that knowledge and effort could be wasted if we went extinct (or even suffered some sort of new dark age). Of course, whatever information we leave behind would have to be found by some future civilization (either terrestrial or alien), or else it is just as if we never left it behind. Maybe the way to ensure that is to manufacture a small number of complete encyclopedias on these discs, put them in space in a place we think will remain safe for the lifetime of the discs, then start blasting out smaller, simpler discs that simply contain the language primer and the location of the complete encyclopedia.

Cody Shumaker July 24, 2014 - 9:43 AM

I would have a map on the disk to the ser system and earth and shout it into deep space like voyager

Herobrine Hunters September 19, 2014 - 4:59 AM

@Roxidius Still not making any sense.

Nocklepockle October 13, 2014 - 10:30 AM

My appacolipse is when the sun blows up in 4.6 billion years

Moira January 3, 2015 - 7:57 AM

Have you seen Stargate (the TV show series)? If not, do.

Harrison Howard July 9, 2015 - 2:46 PM

One way would just be by shear numbers. If you make so many of them, send them every which way out into the solar system and have some land on different planets. Enough of them would make the probability of them being found in the future, much, much better.

Corbin I.N.C September 8, 2015 - 8:29 AM

Put them outside on the side of the road

Zach Lefefe September 30, 2015 - 6:24 AM

put them in an underground bomb shelter cuvilization your wondering wtf is that look it up

CraftingKaria November 2, 2015 - 10:52 PM

you guys should do a video on what happens after the world DOESNT end? what happens to the people who said it would.

Michael R. January 2, 2016 - 10:04 AM

send a more then one disk like one in space and one in the ground and one on the and another one on mars

The Amazing Spider-Thing February 1, 2016 - 5:35 AM

I can't believe how many people fell for that end of the world thing!😆

Ozzy # February 24, 2016 - 11:53 AM

4 years later , lol

ultra Slye March 24, 2016 - 12:25 PM

I would take all of the discs and put them in a steel box. Then I would plate that box in diamond. Then I would add another layer of steel and then another of diamond and then add another of steel.

Ralph Mills May 28, 2016 - 1:02 AM

Put it in an Arrowhead Water Bottle and bury it?

Trenton Brunner August 29, 2016 - 8:51 PM

in my time capsule I will put the Brunner coat and flag

Stitches September 21, 2016 - 6:46 PM

omfg, I totally forgot about the zip drive!

Robert Gough February 17, 2017 - 10:56 AM

Use a water proof safe that is made with the strongest metal that doesn't rust. Make sure it can open

Herobrine 37 February 23, 2017 - 4:09 AM
BREWMASTER March 17, 2017 - 6:41 AM

My mom has a HUGE bag of photos from the late 1800's to 2000, I am using some in a school project where we create a time capsule based in the great depression

Twin Trickster May 29, 2017 - 7:44 AM

Would 50 books and a lot of mementos last in a titanium capsule for 350 years?

Aloharik June 12, 2017 - 2:40 AM

I tomorrow is monday… I still have time

Baardaasvoel September 18, 2017 - 5:26 PM

Time capsules are something I have worked on in practice and theory for most of my life. Arguments have been made both pro and con regarding their future worth, but very similar issues exist for the long-term storage of nuclear waste, a problem of which there is little doubt of its future importance. (click "Read more" below).

For that matter alone, the questions regarding the rendering & formatting of information, and the means of encapsulation & storage for the very long-term are of great importance.

For this one particular instance – the preservation of a strong, but frangible sapphire-composite disk, I offer the following ideas, working from the inside-out with common features, then diverging the features and designs as needed for their particular placements.

We are presuming many multiple copies.

This model is for a single disk. For sets of disks, the model would need to be expanded, and the "robustness" of the layers increased appropriately.

Of immediate need for every disk is a cushioned holder or "cradle". it would need to be soft, resilient, durable, thermally resistant, and have near-zero probability of chemical or physical bonding, erosion or other compromising of the disk. I would make it a quilted, contoured pouch woven of chrysotile asbestos, a material which is physically and chemically compatible with sapphire.

While inhaled asbestos of all kinds is extremely dangerous in chronic exposure, the brief time this pouch will be handled, both during installation and eventual retrieval of the disk, will make for minimal hazard.

Outside, and on each side of the pouch will be two 1mm thick hafnium disks, just slightly larger than the sapphire disk, with a carbon fiber "paper" sleeve over each one. These will physically protect the sapphire disk from the opening of the upcoming impermeable encasement, and will provide special radiation shielding which will be detailed in an upcoming section

A carbon fiber "bathrobe belt" would wrap around the edge between the sleeved hafnium disks, a quilted carbon fiber disk "pad" will go on each side, and a "gift-wrapping-without-bow" of carbon ribbon would tie it all together.

 Next is the previously mentioned impermeable encasement that will exclude all foreseeable chemical reagents. This would be a "non-separable" or welded casing of two pure gold, "pie-pans", just like the marginally reusable take-out restaurant or bakery pie-pans. A continuous weld would be done by laser or electron beam around the edge in brief intervals, with brief cooling phases between them, to prevent heat build-up in the disk space.

Inside this enclosure would be pure helium at a pressure of around one atmosphere.

This gold encasement can be opened along the edge with heavy scissors.

Next is more cushioning, another cradle or pouch, but this time, all of ordinary carbon fiber, with stacks of quilted carbon disk pads on each side to form a short cylindrical stack and a quilted carbon roll or blanket around the stack.

After that is a "separable" housing – one that is screwed, bolted, or otherwise assembled in a manner that allows simple disassembly, such as a "jar & lid". This would be a thick and robust casing made of hafnium, a metal chemically and mechanically similar to zirconium & titanium, but which has an extremely large neutron cross-section, which is exceptionally good at stopping both high-energy and low-energy neutrons, giving the disk extra protection from potentially damaging neutron & other radiation, while giving strength and corrosion resistance comparable to titanium. It would use o-rings of EPDM.

Inside would be pure argon at about one atmosphere.

Next would be more carbon fiber padding and insulation.

Now comes another non-separable housing. After the wrap is secured,, it would now be enclosed in a 2mm thick seamless standard "can" of grade 1 titanium, with a grade 1 titanium lid crimped-on and laser welded for a hermetic seal.

Inside would also be pure argon at about one atmosphere.

At this point, I should mention that at each stage, the housings and other structures would be inscribed or embossed with information, such as diagrams of the layers up to that point, showing finders which "layer of the onion" they are currently at, and what lies ahead. More information-laden tabs and foils of titanium or tantalum would be wrapped-up or sandwiched in the layers and wrappings.

Next, after more carbon wrap, is another separable housing. This needs to be extremely thick, chemically & structurally robust, and capable of withstanding extreme physical punishment. I would make this a massive cylinder of 6-Al-4V titanium alloy, with massive end-caps bolted into place, or my own specially designed "piston cylinder" assembly, or a hybrid cylinder. Seals would be both EPDM o-rings and interference or belleville-like metal-to-metal seals.

This casing would also be covered in information, describing what it is and its purpose.

Inside this casing would be pure argon at no less than one atmosphere, or at greater pressures, depending upon its final destination.

At this point, we have our first design divergences, based upon where they are going. Those going into space would have additional encasements or different adaptations for Earth orbital, Solar orbital, Lunar & planetary landers, asteroid landers, Jovian & Saturnian moon landers, and deep-space probes. Earth land-buried units would have more canisters-within wraps-within canisters, with pure argon at increasing pressures up to about three atmospheres.

Ocean burial units would be in massive titanium pressure spheres, with high-compression multiple o-ring seals in stepped glands., like the spheres of deep-sea submersibles, but without windows, air lines, attachments, or hydraulic or cable ports. These would have one to three atmospheres worth of krypton or xenon, with excess helium added to bring it up to high pressure, with a hatch or cap designed to release pressure slowly and early in the opening process. There would be no separate relief valve.

And aside from all of this are the "supporting" components; the crypts, markers, "signposts" and other things needed to house the units, and to conceal or advertise them as the case may be.

In one case – for buried capsules I am working on – I am attaching lines of Teflon FEP "spaghetti tubing" to the outer capsule casing, with titanium washers tied to them at one meter intervals, and stamped with the number "1" and a single dot on the first one, the number "2" and two dots on the second, and so forth, stopping at about two meters below the surface of the ground.

After decades or centuries of erosion, as the local geology may be, the inert tubing will be exposed to view, and a curious digger will find an attached titanium washer with a number which they may or may not understand, and the dots.

As they dig, they will find the next washer, with a different figure and one less dot. When they reach the third one, they will recognize a consistent interval between the washers, and recognize the diminishing dots as a "countdown", which will tell them exactly how far they need to dig, with the Teflon line itself giving them the exact route to follow. At the same time, it will teach them our numbering system, if they do not know it already.

that's just some of what could be done for a long-term time capsule project. While a given capsule in a certain scenario might require a different plan, I think these approaches should show that such a project is doable with reasonable expectations of success, at least in execution, and that levels of robustness can be achieved such that simple commercial micro-etching on platinum or tantalum ribbon scrolls, could suffice in place of the costlier, and still breakable if dropped or struck sapphire disks, especially with multiple units, while usefully lasting just as long.

We can do this for time capsules, and by doing that, it can help us figure out the methods that we MUST use for nuclear waste.

Jack November 13, 2017 - 3:51 AM

Yes I'm a molecular organism and got your messages 😂😂

Jack November 13, 2017 - 3:51 AM

Lol

Andria Houston January 21, 2018 - 1:03 AM

I can't believe this video is about 7 years old.

Stephen Sooter March 1, 2018 - 12:22 AM

Click bait

Mr. Dimsum July 6, 2018 - 5:26 AM

i think if you are going to preserve a time capsule for like 20 years just put everything in plastic bags🤪

Anonymous October 28, 2018 - 6:07 PM

6 years and I am still alive. Suck my d mayan people!

Johannes November 20, 2018 - 12:11 AM

I was going to hit like, to keep it 666, i did not.

Caroline H May 11, 2020 - 5:52 AM

This whole comment section is a time capsule

PROF. RAM GOPAL YADAV PUBLIC SCHOOL July 27, 2020 - 9:36 AM

हिंदी

Jelly jub September 3, 2020 - 10:46 AM

Just saying hi from 2020, ahh i wish I could go back to 2012 when we the world was gonna end when in reality its this year

Raw Master August 15, 2021 - 8:44 PM

caves… that's where we find the most in tact stone tablets