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Science & Technology

'Superman' crystal can store data for eons

By T.K. Randall
October 3, 2015 · Comment icon 14 comments

Crystal storage would be ideal for long-term archiving. Image Credit: CC BY 3.0 Alexander Van Driessche
A crystal-based storage mechanism has been developed that can store data for millions of years.
Created by researchers at Southampton University, the futuristic memory crystal is able to store data in five dimensions - the three standard spatial dimensions plus two that exist in the crystal lattice.

Data is written to the crystal, which is comprised of fused quartz, using a special high-speed laser.

Any information written to it is expected to have a lifespan of over one million years due to how incredibly resilient the crystal is. It can store up to 360 terrabytes - the equivalent of half a million conventional compact discs - while withstanding temperatures of up to 832 degrees Fahrenheit.
The scientists who developed the technology have likened it to the same type of crystal storage system used by comic book hero Superman to store his parents' data archives.

"It is thrilling to think that we have created the first document which will likely survive the human race," said Professor Peter Kazanksy. "This technology can secure the last evidence of civilization."

"All we’ve learnt will not be forgotten."

Source: Discovery News | Comments (14)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by LV-426 8 years ago
pffft i've had mine for years already seriously though 360 terabytes holy crap You're looking at Iron's 'adult entertainment collection' right there in all its crystalline splendor!
Comment icon #6 Posted by BadChadB33 8 years ago
Now if we can just get the knowledge that's kept in those bloody crystal skulls.
Comment icon #7 Posted by freetoroam 8 years ago
Unfortunately those who find it will probably end up wearing it around their neck or decorating their homes with it. haha, but true. Unless "those" can read our languages and we have put instructions on how these will work, then yep, they could well end up round someone's neck or dangling in the spaceships toilet.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Misanthropic 8 years ago
You could fit a lot of porn on one of those.
Comment icon #9 Posted by White Unicorn 8 years ago
Now if we can just get the knowledge that's kept in those bloody crystal skulls. I don't believe that all those crystal skulls are for real but I would be willing to bet some are. I mean if you were going to leave a crystal message to be found by another civilization and not to be worn as jewelry or dismissed, what better form than a skull of your species for future archeologists to find!
Comment icon #10 Posted by Junior Chubb 8 years ago
What's the point, it will just get filled with billions of selfies....
Comment icon #11 Posted by Buffalojack 8 years ago
How do you read what is on the crystals?
Comment icon #12 Posted by Calibeliever 8 years ago
Working in IT I've worried for years that all of our information is being stored on devices that can be taken out by one good EMP. Stock markets, real estate and banking records, music, books, etc would be gone in a flash.
Comment icon #13 Posted by nothingliz 8 years ago
have we found any crystals or other artifacts from the ancient world that may have had any data embedding? That would be interesting to find out.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Xzenox 8 years ago
'Superman' Memory Crystal Would Last 1 Million Years Seriously though whoever finds that crystal. Hopefully they will have the brain capacity to understand how to read it.

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