OpenStreetMap is a project dedicated to providing a huge variety of map data. Among the information they provide (for free!) is a complete digital map of Earth. It’s about 50 GB in size – that’s half the space of a standard Blu-Ray disc.
No Man’s Sky is a video game that simulates a universe containing 18 quintillion (18,000,000,000,000,000,000) planets.
It comes on a single Blu-Ray disc.
And the vast majority of the disc is empty.
To store the map data of 18 quintillion Earths, OpenStreetMap would need 9 quintillion Blu-Ray discs. According to my calculations, assuming roughly 3000 discs per cubic metre (including disc box) that works out at a volume on the order of 30,000 cubic kilometres. In other words, you’d need a warehouse the area of Cyprus stretching 3 km into the sky in order to store all those discs.
Clearly the programmers behind No Man’s Sky are using some very clever tricks. Which tricks? Find out here.