If we hope to preserve the knowledge and art produced by human civilization long after we are gone, or send a message to beings far from us in space of billions of years ahead in the future, it can be done using quartz. Phys.org reports:
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Japanese hi-tech giant Hitachi on Monday unveiled a method of storing digital information on slivers of quartz glass that can endure extreme temperatures and hostile conditions without degrading, almost forever (a few hundred million years at least).
Hitachi’s new technology stores data in binary form by creating dots inside a thin sheet of quartz glass, which can be read with an ordinary optical microscope. Provided a computer with the know-how to understand that binary is available—simple enough to programme, no matter how advanced computers become—the data will always be readable, Torii said.
Hitachi have not decided when to put the chip to practical use but researchers said they could start with storage services for government agencies, museums and religious organisations.