How to Build A Time Capsule: A True Test of Perseverance

Learn about NASA's Mars rover Perseverance while you learn how to build a time capsule.

Have you ever wanted to preserve time? Let us teach you how to build a time capsule! While you gather your materials and bulid your time capsule, check out this video about NASA's latest Mars rover, Perseverance.

On July 30, NASA is set to send its next rover to Mars. Our very own Science Interpreter Spencer served on a panel of judges that narrowed down the list of names. Then, the nation, and many of you, got to vote on its name!

The Perseverance rover will seek signs of ancient life and collect rock and soil samples for a possible return to Earth.  

Materials you will need:

  • Scissors  
  • Hot Glue 
  • Paper 
  • Pencil 
  • Cylinder that is opened on both ends 
How to build a time capsule

Directions:

STEP 1:

Take your hot glue gun and glue around the base of your cylinder. Once you have completed the ring, quickly place the cylinder onto one or the cardboard squares and wait for the glue to dry.  

Building a time capsule materials

STEP 2:

Take your scissors and cut the excess cardboard off of the cardboard square that was glued to the bottom of your cylinder.  

Assembling a time capsule

STEP 3:

Put the objects inside the time capsule that you have decided to preserve. We choose wooden tokens that represent the different exhibits and programs we put on here at the science center. You should choose something with meaning but nothing that you won’t miss for being gone for too long. 

add things to your time capsule

STEP 4:

With your piece of paper and pencil, write yourself a note. It is always fun to read a note that you wrote in the past. Make it about what you think life might be like when you open the time capsule and why you choose the items that you did.  

add a note to your time capsule

STEP 5:

Repeat steps 1 and 2 on the lid side of the cylinder to seal in the objects and the note inside the time capsule.  

seal your time capsule

STEP 6:

Decorate! We choose to laser cut out some gears to glue all over our time capsule, but you can decorate your time capsule however you like. Make sure you leave some room for a warning label so nobody opens your time capsule too early.  

decorate your time capsule

STEP 7:

Once you finish decorating you should label your time capsule with a warning label so that way if anyone finds your time capsule they won’t open it too early.  

Lastly, decide where you are going to store your time capsule. You can keep your time capsule in many places, your closet, or even under your bed. If you bury your time capsule, make sure your time capsule can endure the elements!

How did your time capsule turn out? We'd love to see it! Submit photos or videos of your projects to the OSC Science Showcase for a chance to be featured!  

store your time capsule

Expand on the activity!

Learn more about NASA's Mars Exploration Program:

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