#2. The Twin Satellites That Refuse to Die
When satellites are sent out into space, scientists generally hope for a few good years of info before the equipment succumbs to the cold abyss and/or is eaten by Space Trolls. Few orbiting satellites get past their 10th birthday, and operating that long outside of orbit is pretty much unheard of.
Except, that is, for the Voyager program.
Seen here, giving Saturn the finger.
In 1977, NASA launched two Voyager satellites to gather data on Jupiter and Saturn. Their life expectancy was estimated to be four years, but after five had passed, the satellites just kept on trucking. People started wondering what would happen if NASA just kept them out there ... forever. So they sent Voyager 1 on a course to outer space, and Voyager 2 got a ticket to explore Neptune and Uranus.
"My only regret is that I'll never live to see my nephew, Skynet, grow into a man-bot."
Thirty-five years and 14.5 billion miles from Earth, both Voyagers are still working as well as they did the day they were launched. And although most of their current data is strictly confined to how cold and empty space is, they might still have a role to play: They are about to exit the sun's sphere of gravity, and will soon, for the first time in history, provide invaluable firsthand information about what lies beyond.
#1. The 36,000-Year-Old Dinner
At some point, we've all stretched the scientific limits for how long food can last before it becomes inedible and/or poisonous. Meat can generally be safely kept in a freezer for a few months. Military Meals Ready to Eat (MREs), if stored properly, can last around five years. The canning process can give certain foods a shelf life of decades. And the Arctic ... well, it can apparently preserve an edible bison or woolly mammoth for a few dozen centuries. And yes, humans have eaten them.
First, let us rewind to 10,000 years ago, the time when woolly mammoths were roaming Siberia. When they died, their carcasses were lost in the permafrost. Frozen solid, they could stay preserved for thousands of years, as if they'd perished just yesterday. And as the mammoths slowly became extinct, their hulking bodies remained frozen in the hellish wastelands we now lovingly call the Arctic.
Russians just call this "marinated."
So in the 1920s, people started finding mammoth bodies with meat so well preserved as to be edible ... if you call half-rotted and definitely freezer burned "edible." Having better food available, and also common sense, the meat was reportedly fed to sled dogs.
But in the early 2000s, Russian scientists weren't as choosy or concerned with self-preservation. Feeling the urge for some sweet, sweet mammoth steak, one reckless soul carved a bit off of the plentiful mammoth carcasses they had in their cold storage and Epic Meal Timed the shit out of it.
"And with your mammoth steak, may I suggest the blood of children who died on Christmas Eve?"
The resulting banquet was perfectly edible all right, but tasted "awful" and, shockingly, not unlike "meat left too long in a freezer."
That's not to say all ancient meat tastes like ass, though. When a 36,000-year-old baby bison was found frozen in Alaska in 1979, one scientist knew exactly what to do with it. He performed a bunch of experiments ... and then calmly carved some meat out of it and made a stew, because heavy sciencing makes for a heavy appetite.
The stew was not only edible, but deemed "acceptable." So, yeah, that meatloaf you've had in the freezer since 1994? Some day, after civilization has collapsed, risen again and collapsed once more, some cyborg will heat that shit up and declare it "OK."
"Whoops! No biggie. I will eat literally any fucking thing you put in front of me."
For more things that don't know how to die, check out 5 Animals That Are Terrifyingly Hard to Kill and 7 Historical Figures Who Were Absurdly Hard To Kill.