Skip to main content

Researchers propose million-year storage disk that could 'outlast the human race'

Researchers propose million-year storage disk that could 'outlast the human race'

Share this story

million-year hard drive
million-year hard drive

Under ideal circumstances, traditional magnetic hard disks (and the data you store on them) will last at most a decade. And when it comes to preserving vital information about the human race and all that we've achieved, that's simply not good enough. At least, that's according to researchers at University of Twente. They've sought to develop a storage solution that theoretically "can outlast the human race itself." The goal they've set is 1 million years, with an even loftier stretch goal of 1 billion years.

Storage that could last longer than our civilization

"Whether it is music, art, literature, or scientific breakthroughs, people have tried to ensure preservation of information for future generations," reads a newly published paper on the so-called "gigayear" storage idea. "At some point humanity as we know it will cease to exist and slowly all our achievements will disappear. Given sufficient time, all memory of humanity will be erased." To avoid this bleak and dire outcome, they've developed a disk capable of storing data (and remaining readable) over these ambitious timescales.

Since testing pure longevity is a bit impractical in this scenario, accelerated aging tests are the only practical way of gauging just how long the discs — fabricated with tungsten and a protective silicon nitride layer — may last. Those results seem to be promising. "A disk with data in the form of QR codes has been fabricated and was able to survive the temperature tests, and therefore will survive 1 million years of storage according to theory." That said, concerns about durability remain. Temperatures that can be reached in a typical house fire managed to completely destroy the sample. But if the disk can be kept away from flames, the researchers are fairly confident their storage solution could stand the test of time.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed 12 minutes ago Midjourneys

A
Youtube
Alex Cranz12 minutes ago
After DART smashed into Dimorphos, I can’t stop thinking about the best “blow up an asteroid” story.

LucasArts and Steven Spielberg came up with The Dig, a game about an astronaut, scientist, and journalist blowing up an asteroid and finding a spaceship inside, and they did it years before Bruce Willis, or NASA. You can still buy and play it on Steam!


R
Instagram
Richard Lawler24 minutes ago
Everything looks better in slow motion.

Apple’s Dynamic Island alert system isn’t sitting still around your iPhone 14’s front-facing camera array. We’ve been enjoying its contextual animations — and even an Android copycat — since it was unveiled, but take a look at it here, captured at 240fps, to see exactly how iOS applies animations that make it feel a bit more lively.


R
External Link
Russell BrandomAn hour ago
Oracle will pay $23 million to settle foreign bribery charges.

The SEC alleges that Oracle used a slush fund to bribe officials in India, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

This behavior is sadly common among software companies doing business overseas, and it’s not unique to Oracle. In March, a former Microsoft executive claimed the company spent as much as $200 million a year in bribes for foreign officials.


Asian America learns how to hit back

The desperate, confused, righteous campaign to stop Asian hate

Esther WangSep 26
E
External Link
Emma Roth3:16 PM UTC
Celsius’ CEO is out.

Alex Mashinsky, the head of the bankrupt crypto lending firm Celsius, announced his resignation today, but not after patting himself on the back for working “tirelessly to help the company.”

In Mashinsky’s eyes, I guess that means designing “Unbankrupt yourself” t-shirts on Cafepress and then selling them to a user base that just had their funds vaporized.

At least customers of the embattled Voyager Digital crypto firm are in slightly better shape, as the Sam Bankman-Fried-owned FTX just bought out the company’s assets.


M
Twitter
Mary Beth Griggs2:46 PM UTC
NASA’s SLS rocket is secure as Hurricane Ian barrels towards Florida.

The rocket — and the Orion spacecraft on top — are now back inside the massive Vehicle Assembly Building. Facing menacing forecasts, NASA decided to roll it away from the launchpad yesterday.


A
External Link
Andrew J. Hawkins1:30 PM UTC
Harley-Davidson’s electric motorcycle brand is about to go public via SPAC

LiveWire has completed its merger with a blank-check company and will make its debut on the New York Stock Exchange today. Harley-Davison CEO Jochen Zeitz called it “a proud and exciting milestone for LiveWire towards its ambition to become the most desirable electric motorcycle brand in the world.” Hopefully it also manages to avoid the cash crunch of other EV SPACs, like Canoo, Arrival, Faraday Future, and Lordstown.


A
The Verge
Andrew Webster1:06 PM UTC
“There’s an endless array of drama going on surrounding Twitch right now.”

That’s Ryan Morrison, CEO of Evolved Talent Agency, which represents some of the biggest streamers around. And he’s right — as you can read in this investigation from my colleague Ash Parrish, who looked into just what’s going on with Amazon’s livestreaming service.


R
The Verge
Richard Lawler12:59 PM UTC
Green light.

NASA’s spacecraft crashed, and everyone is very happy about it.

Otherwise, Mitchell Clark is kicking off the day with a deeper look at Dish Network’s definitely-real 5G wireless service , and Walmart’s metaverse vision in Roblox is not looking good at all.


J
External Link
Jess Weatherbed11:49 AM UTC
Won’t anyone think of the billionaires?

Forbes reports that rising inflation and falling stock prices have collectively cost members of the Forbes 400 US rich list $500 billion in 2022 with tech tycoons suffering the biggest losses.

Jeff Bezos (worth $151 billion) lost $50 billion, Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin (worth a collective $182b) lost almost $60b, Mark Zuckerberg (worth $57.7b) lost $76.8b, and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey (worth $4.5b) lost $10.4b. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (worth $83b) lost $13.5b while his ex-boss Bill Gates (worth $106b) lost $28b, albeit $20b of that via charity donations.


T
Thomas Ricker6:45 AM UTC
Check out this delightful DART Easter egg.

Just Google for “NASA DART.” You’re welcome.