Just as it started to feel like we don’t have enough vaults in the event of an apocalypse, Norway’s Doomsday vault is being expanded. Almost a decade after the original Svalbard seed vault opened its doors, a new neighbour has been added in the Norweigan archipelago to store data. The new vault, which is officially known as the Arctic World Archive, will store all kinds of important data on photosensitive film in ‘Mine 3’, which is quite close to the original seed vault. The vault is now open and has already accepted contributions from two countries.
Piql, the archiving company running the vault, claims that the film (called piqlFilm) can store the data intact for up to 1,000 years, especially due to the unique climate situation in the region. In case you were wondering about a nuclear catastrophe, the vault is also deep enough to be perfectly safe from nuclear weapons.
How does the vault work?
The services of the vault are available to any country, individuals or companies interested in preserving their data. To do so, you have to first reach a regional Piql service provider – find a full list here. After choosing a customised preservation plan, you hand over your data to the service provider, who will then convert it to appropriate standard open source preservation formats. Then, the data is written onto the piqlFilm – you can choose the mode of storage between digital (computer-readable) or human-readable – and then stored. This data is retrievable online and can also be shipped in a physical format of your choice.
Brazil and Mexico are the two countries, apart from Norway, who are already a part of this project. Brazil has submitted important documents from the 16th century to the 20th century from its archives while Mexico has put in documents that go as far back as the Inca period.
Is it useful?
The other vault, which was made for seeds, has already seen its first use in 2015. Due to the ongoing Syrian Civil War, seeds in a gene bank in Aleppo were replaced using samples retrieved from the vault. While you might snigger at the possibility of doomsday, having secure archived data is just good common sense for a lot of reasons. That said, in case of the unthinkable happening, the creatures that inherit the planet might one day evolve consciousness and find our knowledge useful.
Source: Live Science