Image from D’Amico Rodrigo
In maybe the most impressive data-recovery task of all time, Jon Edwards has extracted the contents of a hard drive that was on-board the doomed Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003, meaning that it survived the disintegration of the shuttle while it was 39 miles above the surface of the earth and traveling 12,000 miles an hour.
When the disc arrived at Kroll Ontrack, a data recovery firm in Minnesota, it was melted together, and very badly burned, no longer retaining any of its protective seals. The drive did have one thing going for it: it ran on DOS, which records all of the data in a single block, as opposed to scattering it like most modern operating systems. This meant that damage incurred to the disc was negligible: the main bulk of it was on areas of the disc that hadn’t yet been recorded.
The disc, which was subsequently cleaned and installed onto another drive, retrieved 99 percent of the data, and allowed the experiment recorded on it to be published in a scientific journal.
We’ll even throw in a free album.