We built a 2020 time capsule out of synthetic DNA — here’s how

A gloved hand holds a small vial; illustrated DNA swirls around it

Somehow, it’s the end of December. What is there to say about 2020? This year has felt like a turning point, a cliff, the end of one world and the beginning of another. For us on The Verge’s science desk (and so many others), it’s been a year we want to both lock away forever and also never forget.

As 2020 wound down, we decided that we wanted to commemorate this unreal year with a time capsule, so that whatever happens in 2021 and beyond, there will be a small, resilient snippet of 2020 that future historians, scientists, or space aliens can unearth and wonder about. So we took a whack at distilling a year’s worth of science memories into a handful of digital files. It’s far from comprehensive, but it tells some intriguing stories.


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