$30K for a Million Years of Storage

ABC News
This Could Be BigAugust 2, 2012

Countries with nuclear power plants have spent decades figuring out the proper place to bury nuclear waste and will spend decades more digging and filling 500 meter holes in the earth where it will live. One of the most the crucial pieces in safely burying the waste is keeping accurate records of where the waste is buried so that future generations don't accidentally dig it up.

The solution to that problem may lie in a $30,000 hard disk, made of an indestructible combination of sapphire and platinum that claims to be durable enough to last for up to one million years. It was designed by a diverse team of scientists, anthropologists, archeologists, artists, archivists and linguists who worked to build something that would last, but could also be understood by people thousands of years from now.

This hard disk is different from the type of external hard drive that you would save your documents and music on, and not just because of how long it lasts and expensive it is. Unlike a digital hard drive that codes data in a series of zeroes and ones, this hard drive is build to contain tiny images that is read like a microscope, sort of like futuristic microfilm.

Considering that most hard drives don't last more than a decade, one million years sounds like a lofty goal, so we spoke with Anand Shimpi, founder of AnandTech.com, an influential hardware review site, to get his take on the hard disk.