Awards & Nominations

Tardigrada has received the following awards and nominations. Way to go!

Global Nominee

The Challenge | Remix The Golden Record

Develop a concept for a time capsule with content to educate an extraterrestrial civilization about human culture and our solar system.

Project Tardigrada

Social oriented happening to make people notice our negative impact on the planet Earth, by sending a goodbye message.


Our Team

We are all Polish students, who met at the NASA Space Apps Challenge. As it later turned out all of us actually study at the same school - Gdańsk University of Technology.

From left to right: Adrian, Sebastian (back), Piotrek (front, handsome), Oktawia and Rafał.

Adrian - Web app developer, who learned almost everything during the course of the hackathon. He did a pretty swell job if I do say so myself.

Oktawia - Supporting teammates with useful facts about the topic at hand, which unfortunately is not very handy in school or everyday life. She was keeping contact with participants from other teams in search for valuable information and inspiration.

Piotrek - Responsible for getting things done. He did the visual part of a project, as our resident artistic soul. He was the lead presenter of our solution to the problem suggested by NASA Space Apps Challenge in Gdańsk. He is also the author of the ring, on which we'll expand in the solutions paragraph.

Rafał - Resident thinker, who spent most of his time trying to come up with crazy ideas that later on lead to the creation of the sphere. Responsible for team management, english translations, and helping other teammates with tasks that needed an extra pair of hands.

Sebastian - Calculations, scouring the web for any and all necessary information, reading tons of articles, eating pizza and decoding the original Voyager Golden Record. Also writing this project overview. ;)

Why "Tardigrada"?

At the very beginning of solving the problem of communicating with extraterrestrial life we were inspired by little creatures - tardigrades. These animals have been sent into space and have survived it’s harsh conditions. As that was one of our goals - to make a construction resistant enough, that it could stand hundreds of thousands of years of extreme conditions - we decided to name our team after it. Even if our targets have slightly shifted, we still think they are cute! <3

Picture: Wikimedia Commons



As mentioned before, our goals were developed over the course of the hackathon, as it was quite a long journey, but two of the most important have remained unchanged: code of communication and a durable medium.

Things we had to consider

  1. Do alien civilizations have senses even remotely resembling ours?
  2. How do we establish a basic code of communication?
  3. How do we contain the information?
  4. A big question we gave ourselves is how can we make our project not only have impact on the theoretical aliens that would come upon our capsule, but also inspire the people of today? Could we give our project an additional meaning?
  5. What destination should we take into account?
  6. Is there a way to give the power of saying what gets sent or not into the hands of every single one of us?


  • We don't know what representatives of advanced civilizations could look like. They probably evolved in a very different way than on Earth, most likely in a much different environment. Their perception of reality may be completely different from ours. Who knows? Maybe they rely solely on a sense we couldn’t even dream to imagine. That is why we had to assume they operate on the same senses we do.
  • One of the hardest to solve problems was the cultural gap between us and the hypothetical alien civilizations, with which we would have nothing in common, not even the most basic concepts. When the authors of the original golden record project gave their best to take upon themselves the explanation of the concept of a unit of time - which is necessary to explain our location in the galaxy - they had to resort to pictograms explaining concepts so complex, that it is debatable if humans could decode them. Even if they could, who are we to assume they know the universe is made of particles that electrons are a part of.
  • When considering the many options of encrypting data we had many crazy ideas, like encoding it in the DNA of different lifeforms (Yup, tardigrades were one of them. There were also bacteria and viruses, but no one really cares about them.) Such a solution could contain a lot of information, but during the journey there would most likely occur a lot of mutations that would change the stored information, and Planetary Protection wouldn't allow us to send biological material into space. Uncontrolled spread of organisms could have catastrophic consequences, like wiping out other civilizations. But in the end, when we found out that there already are successful organizations that are in the process of developing complex and extremely durable data storage containers, there is no point in us trying to come up with one ourselves during the course of the limited time we have.
  • Sending a final farewell message into space may be beneficial for how things look on Earth. It may touch people deeply causing change in their lives.
  • When we consider the destination of our journey we weighed many different factors. Distance based on the longevity of the materials, potential life at the destination, etc.We have concluded that the most logical destination would be the stars from the Sagittarius constellation, located between 90 and 300 light years away. Our decision was also influenced by the fact that back in 1977 we have received a strange signal from there, dubbed the wow signal, transmitted on the hydrogen line. However, if we were to set that as a realistic destination that we were to achieve using shuttles travelling at the speed similar to those from the Voyager program, the journey would take approximately 1 750 000 years. By that time humanity will have died out due to the lack of care for our home planet.


We developed a concept of an openable container with an analogue and digital discs inside.

Pictures showing conceptual art of our final solution. A sphere marked with a map of the night sky as seen from our outlook into the universe. Inside there is a disk containing information - our small farewell from the other end of the galaxy.

During one of the many exhausting hours of the hackathon, one of us told others a story that deeply inspired us. It was a story of a lone pirate, abandoned on an island by his heartless crew. Knowing that he will not live long enough to see another human being, he decided to wrap the map to his treasure alongside a goodbye message, and throw them both into the ocean inside a glass bottle. And just as that pirate sent his final goodbye into the vast ocean, hoping that one day someone will find it, we decided that we should do the same with our message. Giving all of our precious treasure - knowlege and kulture to extraterrestial civilisations. We as a team believe that our project can make people more aware of environmental problems and the rate at which we consume the Earth’s resources, by giving the people a chance to say goodbye to the universe.Photos of physical disc showing concept how complicated it is to explain the concept of communication between civilizations made by Piotrek from cardboard that we have shown during our local presentation. Before and after solving.

Web app

When we decided to give a privilege of choosing what content would be worth sending, to community, from the very beginning we knew it will be done using magical powers of the internet.

Web application for society to submit and vote for best entries.

We created concept of a web application where people will be able to submit, vote and moderate content that will be sent in our "time capsule". It would be then encoded on the original disc. It is aviable here.

We created open source repository that is aviable on Github:

How do we know that the website won’t be flooded with inappropriate and bland content? We don’t have to look much further than the history of the r/place reddit, where people were given free reign of a canvas for 72 hours. The result can be found on the photo above, and is quite astonishing.

We guess that aliens will be rewarded with looooots of cat pictures. :)

Resources we used:


SpaceApps is a NASA incubator innovation program.