The mysterious storage device Elon Musk shot into space

When SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon Heavy rocket and shot its warhead into deep space last week, it turned science-fiction into reality. Now, Elon Musk‘s cherry red Tesla Roadster is on a billion-year journey around the sunlight, captained by Starman, a spacesuit-wearing mannequin.

Elon Musk/ Instagram ( Fair Use)

But there was one component of the historic flight that many people overlooked. Sitting in the car was another mysterious passenger merely mentioned in passing before the launch–a tiny, one-inch storage disk called an Arch( pronounced “Ark” ). Its intent is as ambitious as the flight that took it into space: to conserve humankind should be used ever disappear.

What is Arch?

The Arch library floating toward Mars’ orbit is one in a series of five made from quartz silica( otherwise known as fused quartz) using new femtosecond laser techniques to generate” 5D optical storage .” Scientists call it the Superman memory crystal. Without overwhelming you with technological details( see here ), these small crystals are capable of securely storing vast amounts of data and are expected to survive for 14 billion years. It’s believed that, within 10 years from now, a 3.75 -inch version will be able to hold 360 terabytes of data, or about 7,000 Blu-ray disks. But like the Mars-bound Tesla, the Arch sent to space was only a test.

Arch Mission Foundation ( Fair Use)

It only contained the three sci-fi fictions in Isaac Asimov Foundation trilogy .” If there is anything else on the disk, for example, the private key to Satoshi Nakamoto’s lost Bitcoin wallet, we certainly wouldn’t admit that in public ,” Nova Spivack, co-founder of the Arch Mission Foundation, joked. ( Revealing: Spivack is on the Daily Dot’s board of directors and an investor in the company .) The books are the inspiration for the foundation, the non-profit organization behind the Arch libraries. For those who aren’t familiar, Asimov, in the Foundation novels, envisions a style to conserve humanity. The novel’s protagonist, Hari Seldon, predicts the demise of his empire and suggests creating an “Encyclopedia Galactica ,” a collecting of everything known in a civilization.

The Arch Mission Foundation, made up of scientists, researchers, and entrepreneurs, wants to create its own comprehensive history of humankind. The disk sent to space, filled with only three megabytes of memory, is a small sample of what’s to come.

The goal to send a disk into space was kept secret apart from a written reply buried in dozens of responses to Musk’s space-bound Tesla unveiling. Spivack and his squad knew Musk was a fan of the Foundation trilogy and chose, on the off chance they meet, they could give it to him as a gift. When Musk posted the tweet that exposed the Falcon Heavy’s payload, it felt like “serendipity,” Spivack said.

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