5D data lasts forever

February 25, 2016 | 12:12
How Superman stores his data. (credit: University of Southampton)
How Superman stores his data. (credit: University of Southampton)
Data storage systems always run out of space. New techniques allow storing more data, but they render old techniques obsolete, requiring that old data must be copied to new media in order to keep it accessible. Besides being a waste of time and energy, this also introduces a risk of data loss due to corruption or omission.

Scientists at the University of Southampton’s Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) have developed yet another storage technique, but this one is meant to last forever. Indeed, they claim that their 5D Superman memory crystal technology (3D position plus size and orientation) is capable of creating archives that can survive for billions of years. Using nanostructured glass, the system has 360 TB per disc capacity, thermal stability up to 1,000°C, and virtually unlimited lifetime at room temperature.

Imagine that past or alien civilizations have used similar techniques to store their data? How would we know? How would we read it? Is this what science is all about? Decrypting the information stored by Mother Nature? Or was it somebody else? Is that the X-Files theme I am hearing?
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