The Latin word capsŭla is the diminutive of capsa, a term that can be translated as “box”. It came to our tongue as a capsule: the soluble wrapper used to deliver drugs.
The medicine it contains and the set that make up the shell and the drug are also called capsules. For example: “The doctor prescribed some capsules to fight heartburn”, “Please take the blue capsules to Grandma and tell her to take them before dinner”, “I am fed up with the pills and capsules”.
According to DigoPaul, the notion of capsule is used in other ways as well. It can be the envelope that protects a cap and the cover responsible for covering various parts of a body.
Regarding this last meaning, the renal capsule can be mentioned. This membrane insulates the kidney and provides protection against possible blows or infections. The renal capsule lines the renal cortex, which is the envelope of the renal medulla.
The bacterial capsule, on the other hand, is a layer that covers the cell walls of bacteria. It is made up of polysaccharides and glycoproteins that waterproof the interior of the cell.
In the field of botany, the dried fruit is called a capsule that, when ripe, releases seeds. These capsules have at least one pair of carpels, each with more than one seed.
The capsule is also the field of ship space that houses the crew: “Engineers reported that the capsule will engage the space station in the coming hours”, “capsule burst few seconds after peeling of the rocket”.
In 1997 an underground rock group called Cápsula emerged in the Argentine province of Buenos Aires, although curiously it is also known as Capsula, that is, without an accent in the first a. The four main genres they perform are indie rock, garage rock, alternative rock, and psychedelic rock. Although they do not enjoy great international success, they have performed in venues of various importance in Europe, South America, the United States and Mexico.
Perhaps one of the most curious and interesting uses of this term is found in the concept of a time capsule, which is also known as a time box. It is a container that is built with the aim of storing objects and messages to be found by people of future generations. Although the idea arose in the oldest settlements in Mesopotamia, this name began to be used in 1937.
As has happened with almost all types of content, the Internet has already turned time capsules into something digital, thanks to which interest in the concept has been renewed and it has been able to reach the very young. In digital capsules we can store text, video, audio recordings and photographs to be rediscovered in the future. Just as the material versions must be hermetic and have good protection, the digital versions must offer the security that they will be opened when the user wishes.
This concept is broadened when we find archaeological remains such as the mythical ruins of Pompeii, the city of the Old Empire that was “frozen” in time after an eruption of Vesuvius of unprecedented violence, in the middle of AD 79. C., turning it into an authentic and shocking museum.
There are two fundamental criteria according to which we can classify time capsules, and this offers us four distinct classes: they may have been created intentionally or unintentionally, and their retrieval date may have been determined or undetermined.