GCN at 25: NASA's expanding storage universe

DATA PAYLOAD: The Hubble telescope has collected 120T of data.

Electronic data storage has been a concern for government agencies for as long as there has been electronic data. And perhaps no agency has had to handle a bigger data load than NASA.

The Oct. 29, 1990, issue of GCN reported that the agency was concerned about satellite data straining its capacity. NASA already had 1.2 million magnetic tapes containing roughly 1,714 terabits of data, and it expected to add 63 terabits that year. (Terabits refer to data in transit. A terabyte, data at rest, is equal to 8 terabits.) And the agency wasn't kidding itself about the exponential growth of data, expecting the yearly load to reach 4,300 terabits by the end of the decade.

By then, of course, storage was being talked about in petabytes. And outer space is still the limit.

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