Maybe the personal electric roadster Ilona Mask and grabbed all the news headlines thanks to the historical space launch of the company SpaceX, but it turns out that the super-heavy carrier rocket Falcon Heavy sent into space a second, secret cargo that almost no one knew about. Inside the red Tesla convertible, a small object is hidden, designed to serve for millions (and possibly even billions) years, even in such extreme conditions as outer space or the surface of some distant planetary bodies.
The device is called Arch (read as "Arc") and is a tiny carrier designed for long-term data storage. It contains entire libraries of information encoded within a small disk of quartz crystal, no larger than an ordinary coin.
Such arches "can preserve and disseminate knowledge of humanity through space and time, passing them on to future generations," note the California non-profit organization Arch Mission Foundation behind this technology.
The Ark looks like a much smaller DVD or Blu-ray disc, but its potential is incomparably superior to both these media, as well as any other about the optical media that you can still have in your home. The technology itself was developed by Petr Kazansky from the University of Southampton, and thanks to it on such a tiny disk it is possible to store up to 360 terabytes of information, which is roughly equivalent to 7000 Blu-ray disks.
But what is even more impressive is the long-term nature of such a medium. As the Arch Mission Foundation points out, Arch 1.1 and Arch 1.2 have the longest lifecycle among all media ever created. Thanks to the "five-dimensional storage" technology implemented by laser nanogravure inside quartz glass, they are theoretically able to remain operable up to 14 billion years.
The Arch 1.2 disc, named "Solar Library", currently travels through the space inside the Ilona Mask Roadster at a speed of about 12,908 kilometers per hour. The medium contains the cycle "Founding", consisting of seven science fiction novels by Isaac Asimov, in which the main idea is centered around the concept of preserving human knowledge and culture within the great and not forgiving mistakes of the universe. The Ilona Mask mission perfectly matches the goals of the Arch developers, so it was decided to launch the disk with Falcon Heavy, despite the high risk of unsuccessful launch.
"The solar library will be circling the Sun for billions of years," said Arch Mission Foundation co-founder Nova Spivak.
"Think of this as a ring of knowledge around the Sun. This is only the first step of the epic project of mankind in the development, coding and dissemination of information throughout the solar system and beyond. "
Two launches of similar disks with" lunar "and" Martian "libraries are planned for 2020 and 2030 respectively. Their task will be to preserve backup copies of the knowledge of mankind about Mars and the Moon, with the prospect that the future colonists of the Red Planet will someday catch them and use them to "seed" the first local Martian Internet. If this sounds ambitious, then the most important goal of the project will seem even more fantastic.
"Sooner or later all Arc space libraries will unite into a decentralized data transmission network that will spread to the entire Solar system. Thanks to this, people will be able to quickly share and receive new information within our system, and in the future development and expansion – and beyond, "Spivak added.
Of course, now this may sound like a wildly crazy dream. But if you doubt that this project will ever be realized, then ask yourself one simple question: could you believe that in 2018, a car will be launched into space? You can speculate on this subject not only in the comments, but also in our