Despite all our achievements as a race, we’ve never discovered a storage medium that is immortal. Tapes, CDs, film … they all fade with time. The hard drives we use and the digital history we create is at risk of disappearing in the sands of time
But thankfully, researchers at Southampton University are here with a solution: a quartz hard drive that can last 14 billion years and store 360 terabytes.
Given that that’s long, long after the sun will have consumed the Earth, it’s possible that the tiny optical disk could outlast humanity, so we might as well put the next Golden Record on it. The tiny discs are etched with a nanoscale laser in a microstructure about five microns tall, with each pulse creating a series of three lasers. By reading the polarized light passing through the discs, the massive treasure trove of data can be revealed.
The university is calling it the “Superman memory crystal.”The Large Hadron Collider produces about 30 petabytes of data annually, or about 30,000 terabytes or about 83 of the Superman discs. The internet is estimated to be 74 terabytes (last checked in 2009) by the Library of Congress. Approximately 200 GB of information is stored in human genomes, meaning with 9 billion people on Earth right now, there’s 1.8 trillion gigabytes or 1.8 million petabytes of data to save, which translates to 5,000 of these quarter sized discs.
Therefore to build the ultimate human time capsule, we will need a large warehouse stocked with these disks that has strong thermal protection and is buried very deep underground. If we get to work with the massive task of storing all of the data into a new Library of Alexandria. Regardless, these definitely have a few billion years worth of advantage over using DNA hard drives.
But, uhh, will we find enough quartz for that?
Found on Popular Mechanics