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Inside 'Doomsday Vault' that only opens its doors for up to six times a year

Inside 'Doomsday Vault' that only opens its doors for up to six times a year

It's there ready for catastrophe.

Like something out of a James Bond film or a sci-fi tale, the world has its own ‘Doomsday Vault’ tucked away in the Arctic circle.

Formally known as The Global Seed Vault, the facility in the Svalbard archipelago, Norway, stores seeds from around the world while also protecting our future food supply.

It’s essentially a big insurance policy against global catastrophe.

Opened back in 2008, the Vault is closed to the public and understandably, surrounded by mystery – there’s plenty of doomsday conspiracy theories out there, hence the name.

But in reality, The Global Seed Vault houses over one million seed samples to prevent the loss of crop species after the likes of a war, natural disaster or pandemic.

It's quite majestic.
Martin Zwick/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

And it does look pretty mysterious to be fair, as it’s located deep inside a mountain, with the entrance sticking out before a series of metal doors hide away the samples.

It’s built to last forever and is co-managed by the Norwegian government, the Crop Trust and NordGen.

But as it’s closed off to the public and only opens up to six times a year to take in new deposits from global seed banks, people don’t typically get a look at what it’s like in the ‘Doomsday Vault’.

So, back in 2020, VICE Impact released a video with Motherboard, heading ‘deep inside the mountain’ to the vault.

Norway's Global Seed Vault could be key in a crisis.

The crews saw the ‘permafrost’ facility where temperatures are kept at -18C and doors are iced over.

Asmund Asdal, a Coordinator at the Vault, took the team into the ‘world’s most important room’.

Here, ‘seeds from all countries in the world’ are kept in shelves and shelves of boxes.

Asdal explained how when the ‘gene bank’ in Aleppo, Syria, was destroyed, they were able to send seeds back out to them.

“If they had no backup here the seeds would have gone extinct,” he said.

There's a lot of seeds.
60 Minutes Australia

Showing the huge number of samples, Asdal added: “I have a quite good feeling when I’m in here and I know that this is a resource that the future will need.”

And while you might never find yourself stepping foot into the ‘Doomsday Vault’, you can actually take a virtual tour.

Starting off on the snowy mountain, you walk along the long, long concrete corridor before wandering the ‘Seed Vault Tunnel’. It really does look like something out of a sci-fi flick.

It’s a lot of big empty, echoey rooms, with one known as the ‘Cathedral’.

The tour allows you to ‘explore the collection’ and wander aisles of the seed chambers.

Well, at least we know we’ll never run out of plants.

Featured Image Credit: LISE ASERUD/NTB Scanpix/AFP/Martin Zwick/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Topics: Science, Environment, Technology, World News