The Institute of Geophysics of the Polish Academy of Sciences is managing the Polish Polar Station in Hornsund (Spitsbergen, Svalbard archipelago, Norway), which is the key research infrastructure serving polar research scientists in Poland and abroad. It was founded in 1957, during the IIIrd International Geophysical Year. An idea of the Time Capsule to be buried in the vicinity of the Station appeared in response to a need of celebration of 60th anniversary, since the primary corner stone was laid down under the building.

The Capsule was made of 4 mm thick stainless steel of and includes five stainless steel containers, each carrying a message on different aspects of our lives. The Capsule has been buried in a 4 m deep hole, drilled in the active permafrost layer (ca. 1.5 m thick) and the underlying Precambrian basement rocks. Originally, the drill hole was made for scientific purposes.

We estimate that the capsule, now some 6 m a.s.l., will appear again on the surface after ca. 0.5 Ma, due to the combined effect of uplift and erosion. We also believe that it will be found, and the message understood, contrary to other messages sent by mankind into space.


BIO container

No need for hibernation – just send them DNA, and they will manage…


ENVI container

This is a very last global glaciation on the Earth we’re experiencing – let’s give them some hint about the snowy environment.


GEO container

How to convince discoverers of the Time Capsule that we were able to understand the history of the Earth ?


DAYLIFE container

Hi there in the future - too difficult to get a clue about complexity of our civilization? Have fun playing our toys…


TECHNO container

Will they understand the meaning of a silicon crystal ?


In our time capsule, we challenge our successors to solve a puzzle; the language which is composed of natural samples and artifacts that reflect our knowledge and understanding of this unique time in history. We trust that an unknown discoverer in the distant future will be able to recognize the level of our knowledge about the Earth systems and our technological development. Our fingerprints were laid down on the polished-to-a-mirror inside parts of the container caps to sign the message. Although the boxes were prepared with the greatest care and some of the items will survive, some of them perhaps will not. Anyway, we sincerely hope that, although the mission will take a long time to come to fruition, the chances that our message will be found and (at least partly) understood are greater than zero; contrary to other such ‘messages’ sent previously in space missions. Time will tell!!

TIME CAPSULE - a mission into the geological time space