The construction of the "millennial clock" has begun. This Long Now clock, designed to run for 10,000 years, is a symbol of multigenerational thinking.
Amazon's Jeff Bezos announced this week on Twitter that the installation of the 10,000-year clock has begun. He also posted a one-minute time lapse video of the clock's construction.
This 500-foot mechanical clock that will be built inside a mountain in West Texas is designed to run for ten millennia without any human intervention.
The clock will not track time in seconds, minutes, or hours. It is designed to tick once every year for 10,000 years.
Clock Of The Long Now
This clock has been in the works for more than three decades as a brainchild of inventor and computer scientist Danny Hillis. Hillis first conceptualized the clock in 1989. A prototype of the clock that he built in the 1990s chimed twice on the eve of New Year 1999 to symbolize the start of the new millennium. The 8-foot clock is displayed at the Science Museum in London.
The Clock of the Long Now, as it is called, is a symbol for long-term thinking. Bezos and Hillis aim for the clock to have a life span of 10,000 years or about as long as the history of human technology.
"As I see it, humans are now technologically advanced enough that we can create not only extraordinary wonders but also civilization-scale problems. We're likely to need more long-term thinking," says Bezos, who has invested $42 million for the millennial clock.
The clock is designed to tick once every year, while the century hand will advance once every 100 years. A cuckoo will come at the end of the millennium.
The chime generator of the fully mechanical clock will create a different bell ringing sequence every day for 10,000 years.
"The clock will be powered by day and night thermal cycles and will be synchronized at solar noon," Bezos shared on Twitter.
Mechanics Of The Clock
The Clock of the Long Now facility will be built inside a mountain in the Sierra Diablo mountains in West Texas on a land owned by Bezos that was originally intended for a Blue Origin spaceport.
The construction team is creating a series of tunnels and chambers to house the giant clock.
Five anniversary chambers will be carved into the mountain to symbolize the first, tenth, first century, first millennia, and the 10,000th anniversaries of the clock.
The chambers will also feature the solar system's planets and the Earth's moon and an exhibition of interplanetary probes in the 20th century.
"We are providing a mechanical interface into those chambers that provides those future builders with power and the correct Clock triggering events," Bezos said in a post detailing the clock and its facilities.
In 2011, the Long Now Clock team has completed a 12-and-a-half-foot-diameter, 500-foot deep vertical shaft for the clock. It was also then that the team started building and testing the components of the clock.