Described as a “tool,” the monolith is being “built to outlive us all” and will be constructed in a remote location on the island of Tasmania, Australian scientists told ABC News.
The box, being constructed by the University of Tasmania researchers and other collaborators, will not actually be ready until the middle of next year, but it’s already begun collecting data. The box’s storage drives, powered by solar panels with backup battery power, wirelessly collect specific measurements, such as land and sea temperatures, CO2 levels, and human energy consumption. Its hard drives also collect and contextualize headlines around major world events, such as the recent COP26 summit in Glasgow. The 10-by-4-meter steel monolith will be placed between the towns of Strahan and Queenstown.
According to a website set up for the black box, the creators expect human civilization to “crash” without dramatic changes introduced, and this box will “record every step we take towards this catastrophe.” The website also gives people a glimpse at some of the raw climate-related data being recorded by the device.
At the moment, researchers say the hard drives can store data for 30 to 50 years, but they are working on a compression system that would allow it to collect information for much longer. At the moment, however, some believe the box’s promise of collecting climate-related data with the intent of documenting our destruction could make a difference in the present.
“When people know they’re being recorded, it does have an influence on what they do and say,” Jonathan Kneebone, another collaborator on the project, told ABC.
As the project’s website informs us, the box ensures one thing is true in the climate crisis: “Your actions, inactions, and interactions are now being recorded.”
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