Black Box Set to Record Earth’s Environmental Collapse for Any Future Survivors

Flight recorders, sometimes known as “black boxes,” have made flying much safer by recording what went wrong in air-crash tragedies and offering lessons on what to avoid in the future. Now, for the first time, an equivalent for the entire planet has been presented. “The notion is that if the Earth crashes as a result of climate change, this unbreakable recording device will be there for whoever is left to learn from,” Clemenger BBDO’s Jim Curtis told The ABC.

It is unclear if there will be any way to prevent a repeat in the event of a tragedy, but the data the box collects will be available in real-time, perhaps assisting in a crucial course correction. The 7.5-centimeter (3-inch) thick steel walls of the so-called Earth’s Black Box will rust to brown, much as airplane black boxes are not black — red or orange stand out better among debris – and the so-called Earth’s Black Box’s 7.5-centimeter (3-inch) thick steel walls will rust to brown. Its roof, on the other hand, will be covered with black solar panels, allowing it to operate for decades after any external source of power has been depleted.

Banks of computers, storage disks, and batteries will install within, which will download a combination of scientific data and media headlines. Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, temperature data, ocean acidification, and species loss will be the emphasis of the science side.

On the Box website, the media component is already available as a scrolling stream. The purpose is to allow future historians to comprehend the decision-making process that, like in The Age of Stupid, prioritizes the preservation of a habitable Earth over the stock values of fossil fuel firms.

The box will host in Western Tasmania. The area is chosen from a shortlist is based on a number of environmental and sociological criteria. Naturally, the location had to provide enough winter sunshine to power the solar panels, as well as an elevation above the rising waters that the box would record and protection from volcanic explosions.

In addition, the founders wanted a location that would be unlikely to become a future battle zone. However, because part of the box’s goal is to serve as a message, they looked for a location where people would be able to view it and moved. It is possible that Australia’s pride in creating black box flight recorders had a role. Construction of the 10 x 4 x 3-meter (33 x 13 x 10-foot) box is to begin next year. However, the computers are already operating at another location, providing a record of what did – and more importantly, did not – take place at Glasgow COP26. 

Anyone with an Internet connection will be able to view the data as long as the scenarios that the builders dread do not occur. Visitors to the site will also have access to wifi, which will continue to work even if the Internet goes down.

However, if this is to be more than an amazing art piece, major issues remain. The most crucial question is how survivors of technology breakdown caused by famine-induced climatic conflicts will gain access to computer data. Even today’s archivists struggle to find readers for floppy disks manufactured only a few decades ago. 

The idea of engraving hints on metal disks, similar to the golden records of the Voyager spacecrafts, has been discussed, but the specifics have yet to be determined. The data-storage capacity of the box is expected to run out after 30-50 years; however, expansion packs or technical advancements may be able to prolong that time. Building such a massive tower, much alone filling it with computers, will not be cheap, and no financing sources have been disclosed, leaving the possibility that the concept is a publicity stunt open. 

Curtis says that University of Tasmania scholars were involved; however, the only names that have been mentioned are from the artistic group The Glue Society. Redundancy might achieve with powerful devices at other sites if it is real and the notion grabs the public imagination.