(The Long Now Foundation)
Would you pay $42 million for a clock that is ticking once per year? Before you answer, consider this: It will be buried 500 feet (150 metres) below a mountain near the Texas-Mexico border, and yes — you have to wind by hand.
Are you sold yet? Well, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is.
On Tuesday (Feb. 20), Bezos tweeted the first video footage of a particular project that he is funding, called the 10,000-Year Clock. True to its name, the clock is designed to accurately keep time for 10,000 years. It is powered by a combination of solar energy and the occasional windings by an intrepid visitors who wander into the limestone cliffs of Texas Sierra Diablo mountain range somewhere in the next 10 millennia. [5 of the Most Accurate Clocks Ever Made]
To Bezos, who is reportedly with an investment of $42 million at the time of construction, the timepiece is the ultimate symbol of the long-term thinking.Danny Hillis, an inventor and computer scientist who first described the idea of the clock in Wired magazine in 1995, it is a vision come to life.
More From LiveScience
The 18 Greatest Unsolved problems in Physics
Time Crystals to Tetraquarks: Quantum Physics in 2017
8 Ways You Can See Einstein’s theory of Relativity in Real Life
“I want to build a clock that is ticking once per year,” Hillis wrote. “The century hand advances once every 100 years, and the cuckoo comes out on the millennium.”
In 1996, Hillis founded The Long Now Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the building of the 10,000-year clock, and the promotion of long-term thinking. On Dec. 31, 1999, he completed an 8-foot-high (2.4 meters) is the prototype of the clock (currently showing at the Science Museum in London) just in time to ring in the new millennium.
In 2011 began the construction of the first full-scale model, which is about 200 feet (60 m) high when it is completed. The location: a private Bezos-owned mountain in Texas, a few hours drive from the nearest airport and is approximately 2000 ft (610 m) above the valley floor.
As you can see in the video, Bezos placed, the time of the construction is in full swing. The crew has already eroded a 500-foot-deep (150 m) of the shaft in the mountain, which will serve as the clock is not. A long, winding staircase is carved directly into the limestone with the help of a special rock-cutting robot from Seattle.
At the video’s 11-second mark, you can see that workers start with the collection of the clock to the main power system, including a £ 10,000. (4,500 kg) in weight and a triple winding drive that future visitors can rotate to help keep the clock ticking. Because the clock can go many days (or possibly centuries), without the wound, the clock will be able to power itself using solar energy collected from the top of the mountain on sunny days, according to The Long Now. The sun will also help the clock kept synchronized with solar noon as the earth’s axis tilts the course of the coming centuries.
Above the power station, engineers will eventually be installing a cascading tower of 20 large, of 1000 pounds. (450 kg) gears are known as Geneva wheels. This will be the time of the clock generator or, for so Long Now board member Kevin Kelly described, “the world of the slowest computer.” Once per day, the gears will rotate, and interlace-a comprehensive system of slots and pins in a other combination, which determines the precise order in which the clock of 10 bells will ring. According to Kelly, the clock will reportedly gong times per day, producing a unique combination of show every day for the next 10,000 years.
Further from the axis, a 300-lb. (136 kg) titanium pendulum movement slow, 10 -second cycles. A nearby display station, visitors to the current date and time, as well as the corresponding positions of the stars and planets. The clock will always know what time it is, Kelly wrote, but it will update the display only once it is wound.
One thing the 10,000-year clock may not tell us: when it will be ready. At press time, there is no precise date has been set for the clock’s completion. Fortunately, the team has over 982 years for the cuckoo’s first curtain call.
Originally published on Live Science.