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Device created to store sensitive data regarding nuclear waste

Sapphire hard drive designed to last one million years

A team of scientists has produced a hard disk made from sapphire and claim the device will last one million years.

The project was founded after nuclear waste depositories realised that they would have to preserve data which detailed the locations of where they had buried nuclear waste – not just for a few years, but for thousands of years into the future.

Currently, there is no form of digital data storage that could hold such sensitive information for that length of period with absolute certainty.

As a result, the team of scientists from waste management agency ANDRA produced a device suitable for the task – a hard disk made from sapphire onto which information is engraved using platinum.

The device itself consists of two thin disks of industrial platinum which measure around 20 centimetres across.

The process behind inscribing data onto the device involves inscribing information onto the side of one of these disks in platinum, which is then placed on top of the other and molecularly fused together.

Testing of the device has seen it submerged in acid in order to analyse its durability and simulate the ageing process.

Unfortunately, not everyone will be lucky enough to get their hands on one of the devices, with it carrying a price tag of $30,000.

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