A silica glass DVD will be traveling on the soon to be launched Phoenix Mission to Mars. I have a sneaking suspicion that it will add to the lineage of data lost on Mars:
What would a Martian traveler find on the disk? Assuming that he or she could figure out how to decode the DVD, the “library” would yield 80 forward-looking stories and articles –Cosmic Log
And there is the rub… “Assuming that he or she could figure out how to decode the DVD”. Its interesting that even though within my lifetime we have moved from 8-track, to 4-track, to CD, to DVD, and now to HD DVD (sort of), that we are launching something that requires a hi-tech, and very opaque technology to play. We can only hope that they did not use any copy protection to further encrypt the data.
We seem to be stepping backward from the wonderful Voyager Record which included directions on how to make a record player. Ironically, of all the formats, an LP record is the only one that I have been able to play continuously throughout my life.
There is more detail on Visions of Mars and the contents of the DVD here.
Full disclosure: Long Now has its own text based disk of space debris on its way to a comet via the ESAs Rosetta Mission.
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