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Since 1992, there have been 755 planets discovered that orbit their very own stars (extrasolar planets). Furthermore, NASA suspects there are a few thousand more lurking in the data from the Kepler Mission that they haven’t yet been able to analyze.
More than 90 percent of the world’s data has been generated since the Kepler mission was launched in 2009. In fact, most of it has been created within just the past few years.
There is so much data today that scientists are worried about running out of words to describe it beyond the yottabye. To put that number in perspective, imagine the state of Delaware filled with terabyte hard drives. That’s one yottabyte.
Of course, the analogy between space exploration and pushing into the frontiers of the data cosmos isn’t perfect. For one thing, those extrasolar planets existed long before we found a way to identify them. Meanwhile we never had these massive data streams until the internet and the age of webscale computing came along.
But there’s no denying that planets of data keep appearing, whether we like it or not. Thankfully, the discussion around big data is moving from hype to operational, from the space-race mentality of the boundless frontier to the human-centric discussion of how to make it pay dividends.
See the new infographic from Rackspace that visualizes some of the biggest — and most intriguing — sources of data, from the human brain to exercise data on MapMyFitness, from the amount of email spam in our global inbox to the data gathered from CERN’s particle collisions.