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A time capsule at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium

The time capsule will be housed in the old Zeiss star projector, at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, until 2050.
Credit: Espace pour la vie (Sara Arsenault)
The time capsule housed in the old Zeiss star projector.
A time capsule at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium

Humans have always liked to imagine the future, like dreaming of the year 2000 at a time when the third millennium still seemed like science fiction. And addressing imaginary correspondents has also been a popular notion, like tossing a message in a bottle into the sea, hoping someone will read it. Even scientists do this, by including messages for extraterrestrials on space probes. Currently, the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium is involved in just such a project.

Science and French: Something to think about

In the spring of 2014, during French exams, all the sixth grade students in Quebec were asked to reflect on the following question: “What will life be like in 2050?” Each student wrote a letter to the children of the future. They described predictions made by today’s scientists about the year 2050, the technologies they would like to see evolve and what they would like to preserve from our own epoch.

Our changing world

Just as the youth of today dream – like their parents and grandparents before them – of flying cars and a world free of war, they also have aspirations for their own time. The preservation of paper books is one preoccupation. And the protection of nature is seen as another major challenge to overcome by 2050; not to mention the importance of maintaining human contact despite the growing influence of technology in our lives.

Time will tell

The Space for Life and the Ministry of Education, Recreation and Sports, chose 25 letters to be included in a time capsule, which will be housed in the old Zeiss star projector, at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, until 2050. The children of the future will then read these letters, which were written to their attention. The Planetarium staff also contributed some objects that highlight the Planetarium’s current offerings, and its second anniversary. A lamp, from the Konica-Minolta projector in the Milky Way Theatre, will also be included, along with a planetarium presenter’s uniform and some moss from the building’s green roof!

Would you like to do something similar? Go to FutureMe.org and write an email to your “future self” with the date that you would like to receive it. And one more thing…be sure not to change your email address between now and then!

From January 21 to May 3, 2015, the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium will be presenting this project by way of an exhibit entitled 2050: Between dream and reality.

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