Millennial Disc To Keep Data For 1,000 Years

Have you ever wondered just how amazing it would be to store your data on an optical disc for 1,000 years? Probably not, considering a) it's not remotely possible right now and 2) that's an awful lot longer than even the best lifespan you could ever hope for. But on the other hand, it sure would make the act of opening time capsules a lot more interesting, wouldn't it? Well, assuming those still on Earth a thousand years from now can find a so-called "optical drive" on whatever has replaced "eBay."

Believe it or not, we're being told that technology is on the way soon that will allow us to store data on optical discs for a full millennium. And we're not even talking about next year--we're talking about September 1, 2009. A Utah-based startup by the name of Millenniata will soon release "a new archive disk technology to preserve data at room temperature for 1,000 years." One thousand years! The special disc will be called the Millennial Disc, and while it looks almost identical to a standard DVD, it's definitely not constructed from the same materials.

According to a report, the disc is made of hard, "persistent" materials, though the actual make-up is being kept secret for obvious reasons. Put simply, data is literally carved into the discs with an enhanced laser using the company's Millennial Writer. The best part? Once the information is burned in, it can be read by a standard DVD player. Of course, this little company hasn't gone at everything alone; a swarm of well-known outfits have a hand in the creation, notably Philips.

At first, anyway, the company isn't expected to market these to mere consumers. We have all ideas the first batches will be extraordinarily expensive, so they'll be aimed at venues without cash to afford them. Places like data collection agencies, archival institutions, churches, libraries and government entities. Eventually, we'd expect the disc to makes it way into the retail segment as well as into businesses, where sensitive financial records and such could be safely stored for, well, ever.

Barry Lunt, a BYU professor of information technology, is the company's co-founder. As predicted, he's pretty excited about the possibilities here:

"In the beginning I never thought it could replace all recordable disks. But he now believes the immense consumer market will be within reach as the price of Millenniata's technology comes down, 'as it certainly will.'"

In time, Lunt expects volume pricing to bring the $30 per disc charge down steeply, though there's no indication of when that'll happen. Now, to wait and see if this magical sounding technology ever actually makes it to market...