ANDRA brings the ‘hard’ in Hard Disc

By on July 16, 2012
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French nuclear waste management agency builds a hard disc drive that will last for 10 million years.


ANDRA, a French nuclear waste management agency, has built a €25,000 sapphire hard disc drive that will last about 10 million years. Now, you must be wondering, “What, are they planning to bury it somewhere for our future race to know what we were like back then?” Yeah, actually.

Instead of scribbling on walls, or leaving pages and pages of poor written text, ANDRA is building a hard disc drive that will stand the brutality of time. The purpose of the device is to provide “information for future archaeologists” about the proximity of a nuclear deposit and the correct way to deal with them. Most countries dump their nuclear waste deep inside earth (about 500 meters below), and it is absolutely vital for future generations to know exactly where they are.

The sapphire hard disc is one of such solutions to store the information. It stores information with platinum-based etchings, and is made up of two different discs of industrial-grade sapphire molecularly fused together. Unlike normal hard drives though, information is not stored in a digital format, but as miniaturized pages, about 40,000 of them. It can hold text and images, both.

The problem ANDRA is facing is not how to make more of such drives, but in what language to store the information in. Agency’s Patrick Charton said that they are bringing together specialists from a variety of fields “to see if they have some answers to our questions.”

This does pose an interesting question. Will language evolve a thousand years from now? Millions? Will we WriTE liKE THIS or lIk3 tI-Ii5? Let’s hope not. That would take too much time writing these articles.


Mufaddal Fakhruddin is the Editor for IGN ME and thinks writing in third person about himself in an about me section is weird.

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