DATA STORAGE: FROM DIGITS TO DUST
Originally Posted by moose10101
Surprise--computerized data can decay before you know it
Bloomberg Businessweek, April 20, 1998
"Up to 20% of the information carefully collected on Jet Propulsion Laboratory computers during NASA's 1976 Viking mission to Mars has been lost."
"The data lost from the Viking Mars mission, for example, was trapped on decaying digital magnetic tape, forcing NASA to call mission specialists out of retirement to help the agency reconstruct key data."
" 'Digital information lasts forever, or five years--whichever comes first,' says Jeff Rothenberg, senior computer scientist at RAND Corp."
Granted the article is dated, but I am aware of no standardized mainstream technological solution that has been implemented in the years since it was published. To the contrary, every source I read says the problem has only become worse. And the loss of the Viking data is a done deal. I don't even want to imagine what that little miscue cost taxpayers. NASA's bits are some of the most expensive--and often impossible to do over--in the world.
(And the reason this is on-topic is because real film and paper (of all kinds, see the final paragraph in the above article) are considered by many acknowledged experts to be superior to virtual digital archiving methods for many types of information. And that gives us a reason to continue to be...