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Earth is Getting Its Own Black Box That Will Tell What Caused Humanity's Demise

CC0 / / Sunrise in outer space
Sunrise in outer space - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.12.2021
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The device will be placed on an empty plain in Tasmania, Australia. The researchers behind the project say the area was chosen for its geological as well as geopolitical stability. Other locations proposed were located in Malta, Norway, and Qatar.
Researchers from the University of Tasmania have partnered with the Australian marketing communications company Clemenger BBDO to create a black box for our planet, which they say will tell future generations (and maybe extraterrestrial guests, who knows) what caused humanity's demise.

Black boxes installed on airplanes and automobiles play an invaluable role in establishing the causes of accidents, so why shouldn't Earth have one, researchers apparently wondered. Jim Curtis, executive creative director at Clemenger BBDO told ABC that the project is completely non-commercial.

The box will be made from 7.5 centimetre-thick steel and will be filled with a mass of storage drives, which according to researchers will record "every step we take towards" a potential catastrophe, meaning they gather information on pollution, the extinction of species, ocean acidification, as well as climate change-related events such as average temperatures and levels of carbon dioxide. The latter traps heat radiated from the Sun and consequently leads to climate change.

The black box will have an internet connection and will also collect contextual data such as news about key international events like the United Nations Climate Change Conference, meetings between world leaders, etc. Although construction of the structure to house the box will begin in the middle of 2022, the hard drives have already begun recording information.

The black box, which will be the size of a bus, will also have solar panels to provide backup power storage.

Jonathan Kneebone, co-founder of the artistic collective Glue Society, which is also involved in the project, said the device is "built to outlive us all".

Researchers say that while the main objective is to help future civilisations or whoever accesses the black box to understand what should be done to prevent catastrophes, they also hope that it will make politicians put their money where their mouths are when it comes to preserving the environment and protecting life on Earth.

"It's also there to hold leaders to account – to make sure their action or inaction is recorded. When people know they're being recorded, it does have an influence on what they do and say", said Jonathan Kneebone.

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