Life expectancy of the technologies used to save data

Average life expectancy of the technologies to save information :

On a stone: 10,000 years ago,
On a parchment: 1000 years,
On a film: 100 years,
On a paper: 100 years,
On a glass paper: 100 years,
On a vinyl: 50 years,
On a CD: 20 years,
On a USB key: 10 years,

Due to oxidation, the cd may have its data destroyed in less than a year. CDs are fragile and unstable in the long term.

15% of CDs have a life of 1-5 years.
85% of CDs have a life of 20 years.

Flash memories and usb memory keys have a limited number of rewrites (100,000).

If a usb key is written only once, it can last about ten years.

Permanent paper without bleaching additives that does not degrade over time, and with stable acrylic ink can last over one hundred years.

The quartz could be the most stable digital archive support ever conceived. A laser (with impulse to the billionth of a second) can modify its structure. The data is inside the quartz, no risk of degradation due to the time. It is resistant to a temperature of 1800 ° F., even to an acid bath. The data could last from 300 million years to several billion years. The capacity is slightly higher than a blu-ray.

At the LHC, data is written into thousands of hard drives. Despite its network of computer that is capable of making 100 million calculations per second, the Large Hadron Collider will not be able to analyze all data before it is destroyed by time. That’s why it was decided to use magnetic tapes to preserve the information collected, they have a reliability factor 1000 times greater than the hard drive disks. The storage capacity of magnetic tapes has limits, but they can reach 50 TB per cartridge today.

Each day 145 billion emails are exchanged, 4.5 billion requests on the Internet, 2.5 million of trillions of bytes of data are issued.

Scale of size based on the byte:

1 letter: 1 byte,
1 page: 3 KB,
300 pages: 1 MB,
1 library: 1 GB,
5 libraries: 1 DVD,
6 million books: 1 TB (or 200 DVDs),
A stack of DVDs high of 200 meters: 1 peta bytes,
A 1 km high DVD stack: 5 hexa bytes, all the information produced by mankind until 2003.
A stack of DVDs high from the Earth to the Moon: 1.8 zeta bytes, or all the information produced by humanity in 2011.
A stack of DVDs high from the sun to Mars: 1 yota bytes, the volume of digital information generated between 2014 and 2019.

No technology would be able to contain that amount of information nowadays. According to the researchers, only dna contained in chromosomes could theoretically store all this data. Every 2-3 years, a new machine that can read the dna is created.

The main problem is to be able to go from two components (0 and 1 in numerical) to four components (ACTG in organic). And therefore to the first code that was made on planet Earth.

The conversion is carried out using a computer program, and then inert artificial dna strands are created with a chemical process. It is genetics that will decode the strands to read the information, and this thanks to sequencers.

To preserve the DNA, it must be kept cold and dry to prevent chemical reactions, it should also be protected from light.

In Siberia, the climate conditions have allowed nature to keep intact parts of the dna of an extinct horse specie 700 000 years ago. Scientists supposed that the samples could thus last more than a half million years.

For now it takes two weeks to decrypt an image coded with dna.

By using this technique, all the information of the planet could be hold in less than two cubic meters.

The process remains experimental, because its implementation is complex and expensive.

Today it is the data cloud that guarantees the existence of the data though time thanks to replicas of the octets and a system to verify the correct copy of every byte.