Food. We need it. It comes from seeds. But what if there's a nuclear war and all of our seeds get weirdly mutated? What if global warming kills off all of the world's cranberries? Most countries prepare for such disasters by having gene banks for seeds, but gene banks are vulnerable. That's why Norway's built the Svalbard Global Seed Vault deep into the side of a mountain on one of the arctic Svalbart islands.
Norway claims that Svalbard "has perfect climate and geology for an underground cold storage." The bank is located so deep inside the mountain that even rising sea levels and global warming shouldn't melt the permafrost surrounding the facility's three storage chambers. The bank has space for 2.25 billion seeds from 4.5 million seed samples. That means that it can serve as backup for the 1,400 existing gene banks for seeds around the world. The seeds will be stored at just under 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
The vault will begin storing seeds at the end of February 2008.