5D Quartz Coin Can Store All Human History for 14 Billion Years

quartz-coinBy Jake Anderson

Nicknamed the “Superman memory crystal,” a new storage device made of nanostructured glass can archive 360 terabytes worth of information for billions of years. Created by scientists at the University of Southampton using femtosecond laser writing, the sliver of fused quartz coin can withstand temperatures up to 157 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit). It is an example of 5D optical data storage.

The research team from the University’s Optoelectronics Research Center first experimentally tested the technology in 2013. The final iteration encodes files in five dimensions (size, orientation + 3 dimensional position of nanostructures), writing with ultrafast, intense pulses of light.


The team selected major documents from the pantheon of human history including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Newton’s Opticks, Magna Carta, and Kings James Bible to be digitally stored for up to 13.8 billion years, which happens to be the approximate current age of the universe.

With this technology, the human race is now capable of storing the entirety of its history in perpetuity. Once such a device is catapulted into space, it is possible that someday an extraterrestrial species will receive a cosmic ‘message in a bottle’ containing everything from ancient Sanskrit texts and Shakespeare to Seinfeld and Breaking Bad.

This article (5D Quartz Coin Can Store All Human History for 14 Billion Years) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Jake Anderson and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. Image credits: southampton.ac.uk. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

  • I.M. Pistoff

    Just don’t let the US Post Office handle it; some of my mail is already lost in space.

  • LudVanB

    So embarrassing. Spreading the insanity of the human condition to extraterrestrials? I’m sure it will be received as a morality tale and a warning about how to not make yourself extinct.

  • Ideas Time

    What reads the disc?

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    • nazarenergy

      I guess it is up to the species to figure out. Man I bet it is gonna be a hard time figuring it out and not just end up in some cosmic museum lolz

    • Taco43

      E.T.

  • nonplused

    Who in space would want to read the Bible or watch “Breaking Bad”? It would just make us look like a bunch of idiots.

  • OldeSoul

    About a week ago, before I saw this article or knew about this technology, I had a dream that I was implanted with one of these crystal chips. The dream occurred in the future and “they” (meaning government I guess) were able to pinpoint my location wherever I was. Through the chip they had complete control over everything I did or said and they used people for whatever tasks they needed us for. I don’t normally have dreams like this so it was pretty weird to see this. Perhaps they are selling this technology as a handy thing to store data, but in reality it is for a totally different purpose.

  • Damocles Loraine

    Takes vanity publishing to a whole new level. Gonna make some version of history stainless forever.

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