Millions of years from now, when time has eroded current language and culture, how will we warn humans (or non-humans) of the dangers of nuclear waste? ANDRA, a French nuclear waste management agency, has decided to engineer data discs that will last nearly 10 million years using sapphire and platinum. Each disc costs over $30,000 to create, and will be made using an eight-inch round of industrial sapphire etched with platinum on one side. One disc can be inscribed with 40,000 pages of pictures and text and, once encoded, two discs are molecularity fused together to create a high-density data solution that can be viewed with a common microscope.
This data-preservation solution was presented by ANDRA's Patrick Charton before the Euroscience Open Forum. He explained that these discs are meant to provide "information for future archaeologists," though he admitted that "[we] have no idea what language to write it in." Charton and the rest of ANDRA are working with material scientists, archaeologists, and professionals from a wide variety of fields to come up with long-term solutions for warning future humans of the dangers of nuclear waste. These discs, which have been acid-tested to ensure their lifespan, would make a perfect medium for the user manual to Jeff Bezos' 10,000 year clock.