TECH
22/10/2013 11:19 BST | Updated 22/12/2013 05:12 GMT

New Hard Disk Could Survive For Up To A Billion Years

Scientists have unveiled a hard disc that can survive (in theory) for up to a billion years.

The result - perhaps pessimistically, depending on your hopes for the future of our species - are the first hard drives that will outlive humanity.

The storage disc was developed by Jeroen de Vries at the University of Twente in the Netherlands.

Current hard disks only last for about a decade or more, because their magnetic data starts to degrade.

The new disk is so long lasting because it is both made of tungsten, which is resistant to high temperatures, and is covered in silicon nitride. The data is etched into the disk in the form of QR codes just 100nm wide.

De Vries reportedly tested the disc by literally placing it on a lit barbecue, flying it and set it on fire - essentially to try and simulate normal data loss over a long period of time.

So far he thinks that the disc can store data for at least a million years - but much longer periods are possible too.

The values needed to maintain data for a billion years "are well within the range of today’s technology" he said.