Re: A 50,000-year time capsule in space...

Steve VanSickle (
Sat, 17 Apr 1999 17:21:21 -0500 (CDT)

On Sat, 17 Apr 1999, James Rogers wrote:

> The biggest problem is deterioration of the media. The storage life of CD
> media...
> Oh well. I guess they'll find out the hard way 50,000 years from now.

Actually, the 1400km Earth orbit is the biggest problem. 50,000 years? Wouldn't last 50 before it was cleared as a "hazard to navigation" or made into some private collection or museum.

If I were going to do this, I would put it in a 50,000 year cometary orbit around the sun. The cold would help preserve it, and there is a lot of room to hide from treasure hunters, especially if you can keep the orbit secret. I would encase it in a faceted stealth type shell that would sublime away when warmed again by the sun, revealing the nice shiny and retroflector studded main body. It could then start sending a SETI style radio signal (say, a series of prime numbers) to attract attention. Anyone still around that has a hope of deciphering anything like a CD-ROM would probably be able to notice and recover it. If not, well, then it will be back again for another try in 50,000 years. If you are clever in selecting the orbit, you could make it so that, after, say, 5 orbits, it gives up on anyone finding it in Sol system, and Jupiter kicks it out towards one of the more interesting areas of the galaxy.

Yep, you would need to use something more durable than a CD-ROM. I think that preserved DNA of a wide range of creatures would be nice as part of the "message". And designing a radio that could transmit after 50,000 years is an interesting, but I think doable, challenge. Anyone have ideas on how to do *that*?