If they're using it to analyze particle vectors I would imagine that it would need substantially less in the way of storage, but if it is actually images they are after, the numbers are going to be mind boggling no matter what it's final destination is.
If they are compressing the images, I highly doubt they would use a lossy compression scheme. Seems like a waste to go to all that trouble, only to lose some of the detail. And regardless of whether you're compressing it image by image, or as a video stream using intraframe compression, you can only compress it so much. Even if they shrink it by a factor of 1000, (totally not realistic) they'd still need a million hard drives in the scenario above.
Not to mention, what kind of processing you'd need if you were going to compress that kind of data. You're i7 isn't going to cut it.
And while I realize they probably aren't just shoving this stuff onto a bunch of spinning rust, no matter how you slice it you're going to need a lot of ram to be able to keep up with that thing, even for really short durations.
I suspect that it is only being used for analyzing things with a duration of thousandths of a second or even less than that. Even if using it for just a single second, I really don't think we have the technology right now to handle that sort of data rate.
RAID protection is only for failed drives. That's it. It's no replacement for a proper backup.