Visions for the future range from utopian to dystopian, with at least one instance suggesting that human progress will take forms none of us can imagine. Lacking any Delphic oracle, it seems prudent to prepare for the worst even while hoping for the best. In this paper we propose applying a novel, archival, silver-based medium to preserve the data of our global heritage for the long-term future. This media, Write Once Read Forever (WORF), is currently at the point of productization. WORF is distinguished by a stable, dense, data media requiring minimum maintenance and no continuous energy input for centuries-long and potentially millennia storage. As there are many risks to our civilization, our proposal is that multiple digital copies of a "Digital Noah's Archive" (or a DNA Ark)—encompassing our historical and current knowledge base—be placed in outer space away from Earth's fraught and currently unsustainable environment, as well as copies on our planet. Space, however, presents challenges of its own, so WORF media are currently being tested by NASA on the International Space Station to confirm its resistance to hostile space environments including ionizing radiation. These proposed, multiple, comprehensive Arks containing WORF data would expand on the sparse information about human existence on Earth as preserved in NASA's Pioneer and Voyager analog plaques launched to outer space in the 1970s.
Richard J. Solomon, Melitte Buchman, Eric Rosenthal, Jonathan M. Smith, Clark Johnson, "Toward a "Digital Noah's Archive" (DNA)" in Proc. IS&T Archiving 2019, 2019, pp 66 - 71, https://doi.org/10.2352/issn.2168-3204.2019.1.0.15