'5D' memory crystal could outlive the human race

A computer memory crystal developed by British boffins could end up outliving the entire human race and survive for a million years with no information loss.

The so-called Superman memory crystal is 5D memory technology that allows up to 360TB of data to be written onto a single disk.

Data is stored on tracks separated by just a millionth of a metre and each bit of data has 256 variable data states, which gives five dimensions of memory, said Jingyu Zhang of Southampton University.

Fused quartz created from pure silica is used as the core component and data is etched into the surface of the crystal with a femtosecond laser light. A femtosecond is a millionth of a billionth of a second. 

The technology is highly specialised and it could be used by museums, corporations, national archives and other organisations with extensive amounts of data.

The durability of the crystal means that it wouldn’t have to be backed up like other storage mediums. Many organisations back up their devices every five years, because hard drives and optical storage have a relatively short lifespan.

However, it is still unclear when, if ever, the technology will be commercially available. Given mankind’s propensity for violence,  we’re not sure it needs to last a million years to outlive the human race. If we could bring back Reagan and Andropov on a bad day, a daffodil could outlive the human race.