Us humans have been quick to embrace digital technology for preserving our memories, but we've forgotten that most of our storage won't last for more than a few decades; when a hard drive loses its magnetism or an optical disc rots, it's useless. French nuclear waste manager ANDRA wants to make sure that at least some information can survive even if humanity itself is gone -- a million or more years, to be exact. By using two fused disk platters made from sapphire with data written in a microscope-readable platinum, the agency hopes to have drives that will keep humming along short of a catastrophe. The current technology wouldn't hold reams of data -- about 80,000 minuscule pages' worth on two platters -- but it could be vital for ANDRA, which wants to warn successive generations (and species) of radioactivity that might last for eons. Even if the institution mostly has that pragmatic purpose in mind, though, it's acutely aware of the archeological role these €25,000 ($30,598) drives could serve once leaders settle on the final languages and below-ground locations at an unspecified point in the considerably nearer future. We're just crossing our fingers that our archived internet rants can survive when the inevitable bloody war wipes out humanity and the apes take over.
[Image credit: SKB]