The very first Kickstarter campaign I ever backed was Rachel Sussman's project to photograph the oldest living organisms in the world.
I'm researching, working with biologists, and traveling all over the world to find and photograph continuously living organisms that are 2,000 years old and older. I started the project 5 years ago, and have since photographed nearly 25 different organisms, ranging from the Bristlecone Pine and Giant Sequoias that you've surely heard of, to some truly unusual and unique desert shrubs, bacteria, a predatory fungus, and a clonal colony of Aspen trees that's male and, in theory, immortal.
Her goal was to compile the photographs into a book. Almost four years later, the book is out. Looks like it was worth the wait. The trailer does a nice job explaining what the book is all about:
Rachel Sussman, whose project to photograph the oldest living things on Earth I've mentioned on the site before, is trying to photograph a few more organisms before she bundles the photographs into a book.
- Searching the Antarctic Peninsula by boat for 5,000-year-old moss
- Backpacking in Tasmania and mainland Australia in search of several clonal shrubs in ranging from 10,000 to 43,000 years old
- Visiting a sacred site in Sri Lanka for a nearly 2,300-year-old Banyan Fig tree
- SCUBA diving in Spain to find the 100,000-year-old clonal sea grass
Sussman has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $10,000 to fund those trips. If you like the project, you should consider supporting her efforts. (I kicked in $50.)
Rachel Sussman has travelled the world to take photographs of the oldest living things in the world. This is actinobacteria from Siberia; it's 400,000 years old.
There's a map and a progress blog and an unassociated Wikipedia entry that tells of the ocean-going species Turritopsis nutricula:
The Hydrozoan species Turritopsis nutricula is capable of cycling from a mature adult stage to an immature polyp stage and back again. This means that there may be no natural limit to its life span.
Who wants to bet that Ray Kurzweil drinks a Turritopsis nutricula smoothie every morning? (via @bobulate)