Hard-drives and other forms of digital media storage last for a limited period of time. A computer hardware company called Backblaze has been conducting research and has determined that most hard-drives will last under a decade while some may even fail after just one year.
Science is now looking to nature for a solution to storing data in the long-run. Researchers in Switzerland believe the answer may lie in the method of information storage utilized by living cells: DNA.
Researchers explain that just one gram of DNA is, theoretically, capable of storing all of the information from major internet giants like Facebook and Google with room to spare. In terms of storage space, one gram of DNA would be capable of holding 455 exabytes. One exabyte is the equivalent of one billion gigabytes.
Fossilization is a process that is known to preserve DNA long enough that an organism’s entire genome can still be processed. The problem with DNA is that it degrades quickly under the wrong conditions. The researchers have been trying to discover the best way to store large amounts of information in DNA that can be stored in a stable form.
The synthetic process of preserving DNA mimics the same process observed in nature. Scientists have already managed to transfer digital information into fossilized DNA and believe the information will last about 10,000 years if stored in optimal conditions. If frozen, the DNA could potentially last millions of years just as it would in nature.
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