Archival Materials on the International Space Station—update.

NASA photo of CTech archival media on the ISS.

Last month on Tracking the Light (See: ARCHIVING, RESEARCH AND A NASA LAUNCH.) I wrote about a project that I’ve been involved with to develop very long term archival digital storage media. 

Last week NASA forwarded a photograph (above) of our media on the International Space Station, where it is being exposed to various types of radiation as part of testing. 

Among the requirements of these tests was that the materials be delivered to NASA using ground transport to avoid unnecessary exposure to gamma rays and etc, prior to the beginning of the tests that began with the launch in May 2019. 

As a result, my father and I traveled by train across country to deliver materials to our NASA contacts in Houston, Texas. These were carried in a specially designed box for storage on the International Space Station. We traveled on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, Crescentand Sunset Limited. At all times the box was in our sight.

Richard Solomon holding the special case containing CTech archival media for testing on the ISS with Malcom Simpson near Houston, Texas.

Amtrak’s Sunset Limited at Beaumont, Texas on the way to Houston.

Amtrak’s Sunset Limited at Houston.

Summary of my earlier Tracking the Light Post:

Several years ago my concerns over the lack of long-term archival storage for my growing collection of railroad photographs (and those of my fellow photographers) led me to begin working with scientists at Creative Technology LLC, including my father Richard Jay Solomon, Clark Johnson Jr., and Eric Rosenthal, in order to find a means of preserving photography, especially digital photography, by using proven technologies.

This evolved into a much larger project aimed at preserving and storing all digital media using silver technology—similar to that used to make photographs.

NASA took an interest in Creative Technology’s concept and offered to send examples of Creative Technology’s storage media to the International Space Station to test its ability to withstand the rigors of the space environment.


Can data survive in space over extremely long times and multiple human generations? The possibility of human colonies on other planets may ultimately depend on just such data stability. Now, a patented innovative long-term archival data storage system created by a Delaware-based firm will be tested on the International Space Station (ISS) in 2019 for up to a year. 

The system developed by Creative Technology LLC (CTech) of Hockessin, DE, is called WORF, for Write Once, Read Forever. WORF applies a century-old tested archival media for photography in a completely new way for storing high-density computer data in perpetuity. Inherently secure, low-cost technology is used for WORF that cannot be hacked or altered. WORF media can be used to store critical DNA and healthcare records, financial information and contracts, family photos and records which need to preserved for multiple human generations.

NASA’s ISS test will determine if WORF-stored data can survive a hostile space environment during long-term space missions, such as the mission to Mars and beyond. Today, conventional media, such as hard drives, magnetic tape, and solid state memory, are vulnerable to decay and bit rot due to gamma and cosmic rays and age deterioration. 

WORF media is a green technology which can be stored for long periods in normal room environments without excessive energy for cooling or maintenance, opening up a new opportunity for storing secure data for extended periods of time without the need for energy. 

CTech is a group of technologists with over 300 years collective experience in human perception, image capture & display, photosensitive media, data storage & compression, and video and telecomm applications and technology. CTech sponsors have included NSA, the Naval Research Lab, the Office of Naval Research, NASA, & DARPA. 

All media used today have to be continually replicated and authenticated in order to be readable even in less than one human lifetime, and that process alone incurs new errors each time the data is copied. WORF avoids that problem, saving enormous labor and energy costs over long periods. 

Copyright 2019 – All rights reserved – Creative Technology, LLC

Eric Rosenthal, 732-580-9555 


2 thoughts on “Archival Materials on the International Space Station—update.”

  1. 1) “At all times the box was in our sight.” Shouldn’t a CTech representative travel with the box on the ISS to make sure all is copacetic?

    2) Why, under the “Related” section of today’s blog, is the Harrisburg Station listed? I’m quite familiar with Harrisburg and have seen the station “hacked and altered” over the years. Does Harrisburg have something to do with the WORF technology?

    Seriously, this work is critical. The CTech people should be commended and encouraged as they advance this project.

    1. The ‘Related’ element of the post is an automated feature supplied by Word Press. I don’t select the topics personally. Presumably Word Press selects the ‘related’ posts based on key words, but I’m not really sure. BS.

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