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 of the Long Now. 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.”