A granite plain on Australia’s west coast, Tasmania, will be home to an indestructible black box. It is expected to be completed in 2022. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, its mission is to record “every step” we take toward climate catastrophe and provide a record that will help future civilizations understand why.
Clemenger BBDO, a marketing communications company, and University of Tasmania researchers are leading the project. It is currently in beta.
It is made from 3-inch thick steel and covered with solar panels. The structure will be approximately the same size as a bus. The interior of the structure will contain “storage drives”, which collect data related to climate change, such as average temperatures and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. It will also search the internet for headlines and tweets using an algorithm.
According to ABC, the developers believe that storage will run dry in between 30 and 50 years. According to the ABC, there are plans to increase storage capacity and provide a longer-term solution.
However, it is not clear how the structure will continue to be maintained. It is unclear how solar panels will be replaced before civilization ends, how long drives will last, and how resistant the vault will be against vandalism and sabotage. The vault’s remote location is one factor that deters thieves. But will it be enough?
Perhaps a larger question is: Is this just clever marketing? Will it bring tangible benefits? It could have an immediate impact if politicians and business leaders are aware of their actions (or inactions). It seems very optimistic to me.
Humans love to prepare for the end. We have a huge seed vault tucked away in the Norwegian ice and Australia has its own Noah’s Ark that could prevent its unique flora from disappearing.
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