Worried about being remembered when your long gone? Well with this device you don’t have to. Researchers at the University of Southhampton have created a device that can store your data for 300 Billion years. And not just your data, the entire human history could fit on it too!
Researchers at the University of Southhampton store the data in five dimensions (5D) on a single piece of nanostructured quartz glass using femtosecond (one quadrillionth of a second) laser writing. When storing data, laser pulses write the data in three layers of nanostructured dots each separated by just 5 microns (one millionth of a metre). Reading the data is achieved using a microscope and polariser and observing how light travels through glass as a result of the modifications that occurred during writing. So in essence, the five dimensions include the three dimensions of space which describe the physical location of the dot, and the other dimensions include the polarity and intensity of the beam which creates the dot.
Professor Peter Kazansky, from the Optoelectronics Research Centre, says: “It is thrilling to think that we have created the technology to preserve documents and information and store it in space for future generations. This technology can secure the last evidence of our civilisation: all we’ve learnt will not be forgotten.”
So what would be the point of storing such a colossal amount of data until the end of time? Well it could usher in a new era of data archiving. It could be useful for organisations that have large archives of data to store such as nation archives, museums and libraries.
Wow, this is an incredible piece of engineering. To store data for 300 Billion years is incredible considering the universe is ‘only’ 13.82 billion years old, so I think you could say that your data is safe forever. So when we as human beings ultimately destroy ourselves, at least some other ‘beings’ from some far away galaxy will be able to learn about earth and our legacy will live on forever.
Photo credit: University of Southampton