A hard disk that lasts 10 million years

Traditional “Hard Disk Drives” (HDD) last for some years, if they are quality and defect-free units, but French researchers and designers are working on some kind of completely different storage medium: a disk that’s hard, that’s made of sapphire and that should last for millions of years to let the offspring of humanity know that there is nuclear waste buried beneath the ground.

The sapphire “hard disk” prototype has been created by ANDRA, the French nuclear waste management agency: the unit (one of its kind) costs 25,000 dollars to make, and stores information with platinum-based etchings. The disk itself is actually made up of two different disks (20 cm across) of industrial-grade sapphire molecularly fused together.

The data stored on the sapphire disk contains 40,000 miniaturized (not digital) pages, and the future archaeologists will just need a simple microscope to read them. ANDRA researchers tested the disk durability by immersing it in acid to simulate the ageing process: the “unit” should last 1 million year at least, the researchers stated, while they hope to prove a durability of 10 million years soon.

                  

The sapphire hard disk is one of the solutions ANDRA and other European organizations dealing with nuclear waste are trying to develop to answer a very difficult question: how to inform the future generations about the proximity of a nuclear deposit and the right way to deal with the radioactive waste it contains?

Furthermore, if the 10-million years hard disk proved to be a good solution to store data about an underground deposit of nuclear fuel, there would be still another challenge to overcome: ANDRA researchers say that right now they have “no idea what language to write it in”. ANDRA and the other European organizations are in fact searching for answers coming “from other parts of society”, while the sapphire disk prototype is being shown at the Euroscience Open Forum 2012 held in Dublin.

Source: ScienceNOW.

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I reckon Earth would look a bit like Coruscant in 10 million years --- Planet-wide city, little water, population in the trillions. A planet needing to import resources to stay alive....

Hopefully they'd have cleaned up the nuclear waste before then. Besides, it would be difficult to actually find bits of exposed earth not covered by city.

So this is actually a Micro-Fiche made from Sapphire

Not a HDD using platters and read heads to read from a magnetic medium

Misleading

I think better if Harddisk manufacturer creating a huge harddisk, because data are very big now, and 1TB is not enough. and many data center are need a huge harddisk.
the easiest one is creating 5 1/4" harddisk (for desktop). I believe by making this size of harddisk we can store up to 10 TB data.
by making bigger harddisk for data center also good. example create 100-500 TB harddisk. which is big enough in size. example 1U size harddisk (for server).
this no need new technology or expensive research

Edited by utomo, Jul 15 2012, 2:51am :

What happens if a small meteor hits it, or if someone finds it and plays Frisbee with it ? *shatter*

nicconics said,
What happens if a small meteor hits it, or if someone finds it and plays Frisbee with it ? *shatter*

I think you meant o say "When" not "If"
Wake up people..
It's a common fact that within the next 100 years there ARE doomsday commets coming in a direct path with earth and we ARE screwed, but since it probably won't affect me personaly then I'm going to shove my head in the sand and just cross my fingers nothing bad happens.
Suprise commets whip past us at alarming distances all the time and we don't see them coming.

This so called hard drive my be usefull i guess if you believe in life on other planets or something AND they come here a million years later.
Because I think its basicly impossible for us to live on earth too much longer.
And no I am not refering to stupid crap like the fake global warming BS
which has been proven by a ton of scientists that monitored temps on earth
in the last decade and guess what ? the temp has decreased like 9 years in a row.
But you don't see that in the news but you see a million idiots putting blame on Global Warming for anything they need a scape goat for.
Sadly the world is full of lemmings i can't go a minute with out being affected
by someones ignorance.. people make no effort to check their facts
And it should be common knowledge that humans are horrible at relaying information
Our perception and our memory combined with our smug ego's is a scary combo
And that is what you should put on that disc!

I am Not PCyr said,

I think you meant o say "When" not "If"
Wake up people..
It's a common fact that within the next 100 years there ARE doomsday commets coming in a direct path with earth and we ARE screwed, but since it probably won't affect me personaly then I'm going to shove my head in the sand and just cross my fingers nothing bad happens.
Suprise commets whip past us at alarming distances all the time and we don't see them coming.

This so called hard drive my be usefull i guess if you believe in life on other planets or something AND they come here a million years later.
Because I think its basicly impossible for us to live on earth too much longer.
And no I am not refering to stupid crap like the fake global warming BS
which has been proven by a ton of scientists that monitored temps on earth
in the last decade and guess what ? the temp has decreased like 9 years in a row.
But you don't see that in the news but you see a million idiots putting blame on Global Warming for anything they need a scape goat for.
Sadly the world is full of lemmings i can't go a minute with out being affected
by someones ignorance.. people make no effort to check their facts
And it should be common knowledge that humans are horrible at relaying information
Our perception and our memory combined with our smug ego's is a scary combo
And that is what you should put on that disc!

This.
I bet someone like NASA *DOES* know about said objects, but they choose not to let people know due to the way the human mind works. If they were to say a comet was to smack into the earth in three days, there would be mass hysteria, all the religious nuts would come out of the wood work and start preaching about the second coming of god. I cant believe that I of all people am saying this, but I work with a few Muslims. We all have a difference of opinion, but honestly, this is one group of people that will not be adding to the hype if NASA was to say something like that. They have changed my outlook on the religion itself, and stupid people in general as I used to think they were the lowest of the low. But anyways, I have a feeling that someone somewhere does know about these, but they prefer not to tell anyone due to the problems that it would cause. WE (those of us here, and on other tech forums) know this is IS going to happen at some point in the future though.

Why not just make one that can last 500 years? If its taken over 500 years for future generations to read the notes we left then they don't care that much for their past and therefore I, the nominated speaker for their past have decided they must be punished by nuclear squirts of history.

No need to warn future generations about nuclear waste. We will eat nuclear waste for desert= Evolution.

-Pass the nuclear waste marmalade, hon.

Suppose civilization has been rebooted and has just developed the microscope when this artifact is discovered. Would it be a bad thing, handing them the keys to nuclear engineering and science so they can repeat the process?

rippleman said,
The title is 100% accurate.... its a disc... and very very hard.... "hard disc"

Ahh, that explains the picture of a hard disk drive, and the spelling of disk, and the opening few words... "Traditional “Hard Disk Drives” (HDD)..." then. Clearly the title is referring to the common abbreviation of Hard Disk Drive, and not making reference to "a disc that is hard".

are you saying that its NOT a disc? and is not hard?

TCLN Ryster said,

Ahh, that explains the picture of a hard disk drive, and the spelling of disk, and the opening few words... "Traditional “Hard Disk Drives” (HDD)..." then. Clearly the title is referring to the common abbreviation of Hard Disk Drive, and not making reference to "a disc that is hard".

Rohdekill said,
Why not just do what mankind has been doing all along? Simply pass the information from generation to generation.
What if there's an event that mankind is wiped out instantly like dinosaurs? What you do then? oh wait.... can't do shiat...

Krome said,
What if there's an event that mankind is wiped out instantly like dinosaurs? What you do then? oh wait.... can't do shiat...

Then there'd be no point in having a HDD for PEOPLE to view in the future either then, now would there.

Rohdekill said,

Then there'd be no point in having a HDD for PEOPLE to view in the future either then, now would there.

I think hes implying that it possible a totally species might evolve should we come to pass.

Rohdekill said,
Why not just do what mankind has been doing all along? Simply pass the information from generation to generation.

Information gets lost, a lot of blank spots in history are only open to speculation.

Mieky242 said,
Very misleading title. This is not a hard disk and it doesn't last 10 million years!

Not misleading. Flat out wrong.

Sata or IDE interface :-) the way standards go i hope they are building an indestructible pc to access it because future ones wont be able to :-)

Wouldn't a big sign made of the same material that says "Nuclear waste below" be more sensible?

lkernan said,
Sata or IDE interface :-) the way standards go i hope they are building an indestructible pc to access it because future ones wont be able to :-)

Wouldn't a big sign made of the same material that says "Nuclear waste below" be more sensible?

Didn't you read the article (ignoring the false title of course)? This isn't a hard disc drive, there is no "interface". The only similarity to a HDD is the fact that the information is stored on circular discs, and that is it. The information isn't even digital. It shares more in common with a microfiche system. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microform

Our descendants will understand that a skull equals death, even in the event of a total collapse of knowledge. The radioactive danger sign has one alongside a fleeing person and the classic hazard symbol.

in my view the best way, GPS coordinates, pictures of earth with the meridians so they can understand the coordinates and pictures of the composition of the isotopes.

one might thing there is a periodic table in the future also...

jingarelho said,
in my view the best way, GPS coordinates, pictures of earth with the meridians so they can understand the coordinates and pictures of the composition of the isotopes.

one might thing there is a periodic table in the future also...


I doubt there would be GPS in the future. Sure there will be another coordiante system, but probably w/ different relative coordinates than GPS.

jingarelho said,
in my view the best way, GPS coordinates, pictures of earth with the meridians so they can understand the coordinates and pictures of the composition of the isotopes.

one might thing there is a periodic table in the future also...

As said above, given the tectonic plate movements those coordinates will be completely different.

There will literally be no way for them to point them to an actual location, maybe a rough area at best that's miles in circumference. They also may want to include the magnifying glass with this. They have no way of knowing at what point in their evolution a new species would find this. They may be the equivalent to neanderthals when it's discovered. What's its shock rating again??

Good it's readable by microscope. Because in ten year's time, we will be three expensive 'new' connector generations away from whatever we use today.

There's a great film called Into Eternity about the finish effort to bury and label/warn future generations. Exceptionally well shot and narrated...take away message was to communicate in symbols. Definitely worth a watch

So this is a time capsule of sorts?
Makes me think of those sci-fi adventure movies.
What if the future generation discovers it too late and the Earth is already in a post-apocalyptic state?

So really, they wouldn't have a single clue how long it lasts because it is a one of a kind therefore there is not one piece of evidence that it would even last 5 years

kowcop said,
So really, they wouldn't have a single clue how long it lasts because it is a one of a kind therefore there is not one piece of evidence that it would even last 5 years

It's called physics and mathematics.

kowcop said,
So really, they wouldn't have a single clue how long it lasts because it is a one of a kind therefore there is not one piece of evidence that it would even last 5 years

Just because something is one of a kind doesn't mean you can't test the materials it's made from and extrapolate that to find theoretical lifespan.

Minimoose said,

Just because something is one of a kind doesn't mean you can't test the materials it's made from and extrapolate that to find theoretical lifespan.

In theory an SATA 2 HDD should be able to do 300MBps but in reality it's a lot less

"... to let the offspring of humanity know that there is nuclear waste buried beneath the ground."

... plus some top rated pornos to show them how to do eeet. if they are dumb enough not the know where are the nuclear waste, they sure as hail never heard of the bees and the birds.

"... to let the offspring of humanity know that there is nuclear waste buried beneath the ground."

... plus some top rated pornos to show them how to do eeet. if they are dumb enough not the know where are the nuclear waste, they sure a hell never heard of the bees and the birds.

psionicinversion said,
Id of thought that even in 1 million years we wouldn't be on this planet anymore anyway

We might not even be recognizably human. And colonies of humans on different planets might not even be biologically compatible anymore.

So future generations will find it, not know what it means, and go digging there looking for more of these relics.

Perhaps some type of graphic/image depicting the nuclear waste - can't go wrong with that (my opinion) - Self-explanatory.

shinji257 said,
Math is a universal language so write it in Math.

How do you translate DEATH into math? Inscribe lots of equations with division by zero?

rfirth said,

How do you translate DEATH into math? Inscribe lots of equations with division by zero?

I propose we write it in C

if (SHTF)
exit(EXIT_FAILURE);

rfirth said,

How do you translate DEATH into math? Inscribe lots of equations with division by zero?

Your actions=1 radiation=-1 you=x
1+(-1)=x solve for x

you=0

Since 0 doesn't actually exist that means you don't exist.

This article is so incredibly misleading.

Its NOT a HDD, its a "Disc" with microscopic "Pages" etched onto it in platinum, you use a MICROSCOPE to read it.. NOT a computer.

IF it were a HDD then its 40,000 pages of "text and pictures'" assuming 100 pages = 1Mb (which is a horrible ratio), then it holds an "Awesome" 400Mb... woo!!!

Xionanx said,
This article is so incredibly misleading.

Its NOT a HDD, its a "Disc" with microscopic "Pages" etched onto it in platinum, you use a MICROSCOPE to read it.. NOT a computer.

IF it were a HDD then its 40,000 pages of "text and pictures'" assuming 100 pages = 1Mb (which is a horrible ratio), then it holds an "Awesome" 400Mb... woo!!!


Considering this probably is expensive.... 400MB could hold a lot more then you think. Even a couple words with warnings and such could make a big difference.

link6155 said,

Considering this probably is expensive.... 400MB could hold a lot more then you think. Even a couple words with warnings and such could make a big difference.

400MB would be enough to store the best porn videos. That would make a big difference.

Tangmeister said,

Unfortunately, no.

Actually, yes. Most of the bad stuff will be gone in tens or hundreds of years. The really dangerous stuff has a relatively short half-life. Much of the rest can be recycled into new fuel rods.

It doesn't really take that long for radioactive waste to decay to a point that it's no more radioactive than the natural uranium ore that you dig out of the ground.

Even Chernobyl will be reasonably safe in 200-600 years. You won't be able to enter the reactor that melted down for about 20,000+ years, though.

Yeah exactly, 25K a pop is a pretty small price to warn future generations of our waste. Put a cpl of them in each repository with english, spanish, arabic. Cover the main ones.

Alternatively in 10,000,000 years im pretty sure all current forms of language will be relics of a time long lost so why don't we just go with what we know works....pictures. Cave men had it right all those years ago...whodda thunk it?

Osiris said,
Yeah exactly, 25K a pop is a pretty small price to warn future generations of our waste. Put a cpl of them in each repository with english, spanish, arabic. Cover the main ones.

Alternatively in 10,000,000 years im pretty sure all current forms of language will be relics of a time long lost so why don't we just go with what we know works....pictures. Cave men had it right all those years ago...whodda thunk it?


Exactly, pictures seems to be best choise. anything can happen in million years, humanity can dissapear before long and no one knows how new languages would develop in potential new intelligent life.

Wow, I wish I could put my movie collection on this...

Anyway... they should write the text in French... since it's a french project...

djesteban said,
Wow, I wish I could put my movie collection on this...

Anyway... they should write the text in French... since it's a french project...

No, they should write it in the language most likely to survive, otherwise what is the point. Or better yet have several copies in different languages (English, Spanish, Mandarin etc...)

Minimoose said,

No, they should write it in the language most likely to survive, otherwise what is the point. Or better yet have several copies in different languages (English, Spanish, Mandarin etc...)


Agreed. The more the matter. Or, each country can create it own.

Minimoose said,

No, they should write it in the language most likely to survive, otherwise what is the point. Or better yet have several copies in different languages (English, Spanish, Mandarin etc...)

They should make it in as many languages as possible, all saying the same thing. A future language might be based any current language we have now.

McKay said,

They should make it in as many languages as possible, all saying the same thing. A future language might be based any current language we have now.

Yup, but the more widespread ones are more likely to be that base.

rfirth said,
I wonder how extinct we will be in 10 million years!

My guess? Very

We might be getting fueled into someone's tank perhaps!