We think of digital things as ethereal: "the internet is forever," and all that. But digital storage methods have their shortcomings. Hard drives have expiration dates. DVDs and CDs wear away until they become unusable.

That's where five-dimensional storage comes in. 

"Scientists from the University of Southampton in the UK have created a new data format that encodes information in tiny nanostructures in glass. A standard-sized disc can store around 360 terabytes of data, with an estimated lifespan of up to 13.8 billion years even at temperatures of 190°C. That's as old as the Universe, and more than three times the age of the Earth."

These glass discs can encode anything. But before you get excited about being able to preserve your Smash Mouth mp3s for all of eternity, consider this: while it's fun to fantasize about the technology being used to transmit human data to extraterrestrials and future civilizations, it's also important to consider its present-day applications. In light of ISIS's ransacking of Mosul, this kind of durable, portable storage can be an important tool in protecting cultural and artistic artifacts from political violence and war.