The Sciences

In Jalandhar, 'Time Capsule' of Gadgets Locked Underground for Future to Find

The objects to be included were selected by a group of students at Lovely Professional University, based on a poll.

Jalandhar: At the India Science Congress underway at Lovely Professional University here, delegates buried a collection of objects in a concrete structure underground in an effort to preserve a cross-section of today’s technology for posterity.

On January 4, two attendees – the biochemist Avram Hershko and physicist Duncan Haldane – lowered the lot, popularly called a ‘time capsule’, 10 feet in an afternoon ceremony.

Objects in the capsule include:

  • Replicas of India’s Mars Orbiter Mission, the Brahmos missile, a two-stage medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile and a Tejas fighter jet
  • A laptop
  • A smartphone
  • Amazon Alexa (a virtual assistant)
  • A pair of glasses with augmented reality capabilities
  • A solar panel
  • A hard-disk with the “latest documentaries and movies”
  • Class XII science textbooks
  • Rheostats
  • A compound microscope
  • An air-filter
  • An induction cooker
  • An air fryer

… among other things.

In all, there were about 60 objects in the collection. They were packed into a cuboidal container made of aluminium. According to The Hindu, the container was about 6 feet wide and 5 feet high. Once it was ready to go, Hershko and Haldane pressed a button, which activated a hydraulic piston that lowered it underground into a concrete encasement.

Also read: Duncan Haldane, David Thouless and Michael Kosterlitz Win 2016 Physics Nobel

The objects to be included were selected by a group of students at Lovely Professional University, based on a poll.

One student told The Hindu, “Maybe a 100 years hence, these will be exhumed and people will ponder these objects as curiosities.” Another said, “We may not be there but we’ll leave instructions through the university to ensure that this spot is taken care of.”

“Earlier, major developments would take place once in few decades. But today, new technical capabilities are being added to our life every few years,” Ashok Mittal, the university’s chancellor, told India Science Wire. He said the plan was to keep the capsule underground up to January 3, 2119.

“The time capsule offers a representation of technology know how as it stands today. It should turn out to be a source of wonder and pride for the generation that would bring it up a century later.”