Engineers and contractors are building a massive, multi-room clock inside a mountain in West Texas—a clock that will tell time for the next 10,000 years. And despite an informal website with a whiff of Blogspot template, this is a Jeff Bezos project.
There are a lot of surprises in the story of the Clock. It’s the brainchild of Danny Hillis, a computer scientist and entrepreneur who first imagined the 10,000-year clock in 1986. Now, he’s a visiting professor at MIT Media Lab with a reputation for building supercomputers, autonomous dinosaur robots, and Disney theme park rides. He’s exactly the kind of guy who decides he wants to build a huge eon clock in a mountain.
How does the clock work? Well, the longness of the time involved is the big engineering challenge. The clock is designed to tick just once a year and chime once per millennium. Experts are blasting rooms out of the interior of the mountain in order to install steampunky piles of gears and flywheels.
According to Bezos, the Amazon founder and richest man on the planet, the clock will be 500 feet tall, “all mechanical, powered by day/night thermal cycles,” and “synchronized at solar noon.”
Installation has begun—500 ft tall, all mechanical, powered by day/night thermal cycles, synchronized at solar noon, a symbol for long-term thinking—the #10000YearClock is coming together thx to the genius of Danny Hillis, Zander Rose & the whole Clock team! Enjoy the video. pic.twitter.com/FYIyaUIbdJ
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) February 20, 2018
It’s like the chambers inside the Great Pyramid at Giza were filled with parts envisioned by H.G. Wells. The website doesn’t list a timeline of any kind, but has a signup for a mailing list for when it’s finished, “many years into the future.”
Construction on the clock began back in 2018, with no end in sight. It probably won’t take, say, another 10,000 years, but you’ll be waiting a while to visit the monument—if you can get there, of course. That remote location is so the clock can be built on Bezos’s own land, but it sounds like, by design, most people will never be able to ever see the clock in person.
This article was written by Caroline Delbert and published to Popular Mechanics on 27/04/2020.
Image: Twitter/ Jeff Bezos