Why Earth Is Getting A Black Box
In the aviation industry, every aeroplane is fitted with a black box.
It’s essentially a heavily protected recording device – like a hard drive or memory card – that saves data, and it can’t be destroyed.
Now a new project in Tasmania is creating a different type of black box – one for the Earth. And it’s going to record everything about our planet, to try and help the world combat climate change.
What Is A Black Box?
On a plane, the black box records inflight information every time it flies.
They were introduced commercially after World War II as a way of learning from when something went wrong.
Basically, they help mistakes become lessons, which is why a plane’s black box is often the first thing investigators look for after a crash.
But now, Earth has a black box too. Or at least, will have one.
The Earth’s Black Box
This might look like some kind of art exhibition, but it’s actually a mock of what Earth’s first black box will look like.
Its name is, fittingly, Earth’s Black Box.
It’s set to be built next year on a remote plain on Tasmania’s west coast, which beat other potential locations in Malta, Norway, and Qatar.
The project is being led by a marketing company called Clemenger BBDO in collaboration with the University of Tasmania.
And, according to its creators, Earth’s Black Box has been designed to provide “unbiased” information on the events that could ultimately lead to “the demise of the planet”.
Grim, isn’t it?
The box is expected to be about the size of a city bus.
Solar panels on its roof will power the box’s internet connection, and the hope is that it’ll record all of Earth’s interactions.
Which means what exactly?
Everything from climate change-related data to social media posts, and news will be recorded.
On the climate change side of things, the data will include carbon dioxide levels, average temperature measurements of both the land and sea, ocean acidification, and even species extinction.
Human population sizes, military spending, and energy consumptions will also reportedly be in the mix.
And the black box isn’t just going to record everything that happens on Earth from 2022 onwards.
It’s also going to pull historical data from the internet to retrospectively record data about Earth’s past.
The Response To Earth’s Black Box
Like an aeroplane’s black box, Earth’s Black Box has been designed to outlive us all.
Jim Curtis from Clemenger BBDO pointed out that if the Earth does crash as a result of climate change, the box “will be there for whoever’s left to learn from that”.
And that it will “hold leaders to account” by showing who did or didn’t take action.
Some people are saying that the whole thing is just a really clever marketing push for the company.
Others are questioning if there are any real, tangible benefits to putting this box out in the environment.
Even though it’s not going to be ready for Tasmania until 2022, the box has already begun its recordings.
The first data it collected was on none other than the COP26 climate conference held in Glasgow last month.