Data Storage: From Digits To Dust

Surprise--computerized data can decay before you know it

Up to 20% of the information carefully collected on Jet Propulsion Laboratory computers during NASA's 1976 Viking mission to Mars has been lost. Some POW and MIA records and casualty counts from the Vietnam War, stored on Defense Dept. computers, can no longer be read. And at Pennsylvania State University, all but 14 of some 3,000 computer files containing student records and school history are no longer accessible because of missing or outmoded software.

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