We have plenty of lists of places you absolutely must visit. But there are also plenty of places on earth you absolutely can’t ever visit, unless you’re one of the privileged few researchers or techheads.
NORWEGIAN SEED VAULT
Somewhere in the Norwegian Arctic is a vault – great slabs of concrete and metal half-buried within the snow. But it’s not loaded with canned peas and spam, or a labyrinth filled with government officials hurrying to big meeting rooms with fancy chairs. Instead, it’s equipped with anything and everything needed to farm the post-apocalyptic world.
The builders call it “the backup of the system we have globally”, filled with seeds from around the world. Every country is permitted to donate seeds, even countries such as North Korea have crates inside the bunker.
A little worryingly, the first withdrawal was recently made due to the war in Syria. Here’s hoping it’s a good long while before the next…
Surtsey is located off the southern coast of Iceland and was formed in 1963 after a volcanic eruption went off 163 metres underwater. It erupted for four years before subsiding. The island’s height reached a maximum 155 metres above sea level, but wave erosion has since been rapidly shrinking the island. Despite that, experts believe the island will survive for many centuries.
While the volcano was erupting it was designated a nature reserve and only a few researchers have been allowed on the island. In 2008, it was promoted to a World Heritage Site. regular people can only view the island by plane. What we now have is a site that has been completely seeded by natural life in a brand new ecosystem. People have been careful not to leave any impact of their own on the area. In one instance, improper disposal of human faeces resulted in a tomato plant starting to grow, which was promptly destroyed.
GOOGLE DATA CENTRE
This is where all your data is, and it’s entirely off-limits to everyone. Unless you want someone sneaking in there and downloading all your nudes onto a USB, then you’re going to want to keep it that way. Artist John Gerrard famously was turned away when he asked to photograph it. Not willing to let that stop him, he flew over the place with a helicopter and took some shots from above to create a 3D render of the place. That’s about the closest anyone’s ever going to get to it.
RAF MENWITH HILL
Located in North Yorkshire, the airforce base provides intelligence for Britain and the United States. It intercepts communications and will be where we hear about the nukes first if they ever come.
It’s been described as the largest electronic communications centre in the world and has been pinned as one of the players in the ECHELON program, the predecessor of the Five Eyes program.