Decades-old Russian time capsules were opened yesterday, revealing what Russians thought their future would hold 100 years after the Bolshevik Revolution. Written predominately in 1967 (the 50th anniversary of that revolution), the Straits Times reported the messages predicted that in 2017 the Communist Party would be thriving and that Russians most definitely would have landed on Mars.
The capsules, dug up from different locations, were opened by Russians across the country. Many writers envisioned a glorious future for the Communist Party, which fell in 1991. "All that we did, we did so that you today would feel all our devotion to the country, the people and the Party," wrote one participant. Another writer predicted “beautiful palaces” dedicated to the cause. The message continued: "All that we did, we did so that you today would feel all our devotion to the country, the people and the Party … Be as we imagine you."
But not all the messages were political. Many contained hope for the future of Russian space travel. In 1961, Yuri Gagarin, of the Soviet Union, became the first man into orbit in 1961. By the time these letters were written, that event would have by that time dominated Russian consciousness for more than a decade, and many believed that it was their destiny to reach outer space, the moon, and Mars.
One capsule opened in the Blagoveshchensk region was even shaped like a rocket. One writer envisioned their town would be equipped with "a launch base for supersonic passenger rocket-planes.”"We believe that you have... settled on the moon and landed on Mars," read an excerpt of a three-page-long letter. "[Y]our spaceships have long crossed the galaxy … you're holding talks on scientific and cultural cooperation with other, alien civilizations."
Two Russian cosmonauts are currently aboard the International Space Station (ISS), Sergey Ryazanskiy and Alexander Misurkin. Misurkin arrived earlier this year with two NASA astronauts on a craft called Soyus MS-06, which launched from Kazakhstan. Misurkin, according to NASA, enjoys badminton, basketball and downhill skiing. Ryazanskiy plays the guitar. During the five-month expedition in which Misurkin is participating, the astronauts will conduct a range of studies including medications to prevent or alleviate muscle weakening and to help repair bones.
As for alien contact, at least some Russians remain hopeful. This past May, Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, noted that the ISS, which collects a great deal of space dust, could contain microorganisms. Samples of the dust have been collected for the past seven years. But no interstellar life forms have been found yet. One new type of bacteria was identified on the ISS, and has not been found anywhere else, according to reports, but NASA officials say the organisms came from Earth.