Computer scientist William "Danny" Hillis has visions of a clock that ticks for millennia.
Thanks to financial backing by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, his clock is now in the works.
As Molly Price reports for CNET, Bezos recently posted an update to the 10,000 Year Clock website and a video to social media showing the beginning stages of the $42 million mechanical clock's installation.
An organization called the Long Now Foundation, founded by Hillis and Stewart Brand, publisher of the defunct counterculture magazine Whole Earth Catalog, will build the clock inside a mountain in west Texas, Mental Floss’ Shaunacy Ferro reports.
According to the foundation’s website, most of the clock will be made with marine-grade stainless steel and some key parts with stone and hi-tech ceramics, which should outlast most metals.
The massive clock will measure about 500 feet tall and be powered by thermal energy. The clock will self-adjust to keep a true solar noon. Ferro adds that a “chime generator” will come up with a different sequence of rings each day, and the cuckoo will come out every 1,000 years. It will also animate a mechanical system within one of five rooms carved into the mountain.
On its first year anniversary, the clock will animate an 8-foot-tall model of the solar system. On its 10-, 100-, 1,000- and 10,000-year marks, other animations will take place in one of five rooms carved into the mountain. Bezos writes that the team is working on the 10-year anniversary animation.
Because the clock is located in a remote area of property owned by Bezos in the Sierra Mountains of Texas, you likely won’t be able to see it up close. But you can email a blank message to [email protected] to be notified when the clock is finished. A prototype of the clock is also currently on loan at the Science Museum in London.
The Long Now’s website says this is first of many millennial clocks they have planned. Indeed, they’ve already announced plans to build a second clock in eastern Nevada.