Ever thought about what you would do if you have to pass on a family secret to a lineage of generations after you? You would probably pass on to your inheritors, then they will pass to their’s and it will go on until things fall apart. The French nuclear waste management agency ANDRA has a bigger problem. It must make sure that certain information about it’s doings be passed to generations even after tens of thousands of years. The agency is responsible for dumping nuclear waste in depositories and maintain their safety. And, for the safety of the planet Earth these depositories must not be disturbed once they are sealed even after thousand of years.
To solve the problem of passing the sensitive information to generations after we would vanish, ANDRA had formed the Euroscience Open Forum. The forum consists of people from different speciality areas and different cultures, and it aims to devise ways to pass the sensitive information to future generations by 2014 or 2015. The first attempt of the forum was to make a disc that would last for millions of years.
And, the first prototype of the disk is now ready. It’s made of sapphire and platinum. The prototype disc required more than $30,000 (€25,000) to create. Each disc will be made using an eight-inch round of industrial sapphire etched with platinum on one side. One disc can be inscribed with 40,000 pages of pictures and text. Two similar discs would be combined to create the final inscription. All a person would need to read the inscriptions is a microscope.
These discs have been submerged in acid to simulate ageing and test its durability. Patrick Charton of ANDRA presented the data-preservation solution before the Euroscience Open Forum.
But, the experts have another bigger problem now? Which language should they use to write the information? After 10,000 years all languages prevalent today would be dead. And, the race who finds the discs may not be humans at all.