Humanity likes to have their dreams go beyond time.
This time, what's coming true is a dream that many have never dreamt of, and it may allow us to feel ever so close to eternity.
Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos has begun the massive construction of a clock that will run for 10,000 years, or so he hopes.
This huge clock is the first of many millennial clocks to be built around the world and throughout the time. Its bells playing a melody every once in a while, and will never repeat itself - the chimes are programmed to play a new melody every single time, for 10,000 years, stated the website of the Long Now Foundation.
The project is funded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who hopes to foster a belief in the future. Bezos hopes that this clock will change the way humanity thinks about time, encouraging our distant descendants to take a longer view than we have.
Over the lifetime of this clock, the United States won't exist, Bezos told Wired. Whole civilizations will rise and fall. New systems of government will be invented. You can't imagine the world - no one can - that we're trying to get this clock to pass through.
The clock will be as tall as 200 feet, and will go 500-feet deep into a mountain in the Sierra Diablos of remote West Texas, where the work is already underway. The builders have started drilling a horizontal access tunnel into the base of the ridge where the clock will live. They'll drill a pilot hole, 500 feet straight down from the top of the ridge, until it meets the access tunnel. Then they'll bring a 12-foot-7-inch bit into the bottom and drill it back up, carving out a tall vertical shaft as it goes, reported Wired. Then they will install a movable platform holding a 2.5-ton robot arm with a stonecutting saw mounted on the end. It will start carving a spiral staircase into the vertical shaft, from the top down, one step at a time, according to Wired.
The key to the function of the clock is its visitors, who will be turning a wheel near the clock's face to tickle the time to the present one, or otherwise, it will display the time of the person who last visited the clock. To conserve energy, the clock will not move its dials unless they are turned by a visitor's hand. The correct time is calculated by the clock, just that it will be displayed only when your effort is put.
If no one visits it, however, the clock will run for 10,000 years. Yes, even without anyone visiting it, the clock will be self-winding through a combination of thermal power and 20,000 pound weights. Using teh energy captured by changes in the temperature between day and night on the mountain top above, the clock can power its time-keeping apparatus. As long as the sun rises and sets, the clock will be ticking, quietly and invisibly.
On the website launched last week, Bezos stated,
We are building a 10,000 Year Clock. It's a special clock, designed to be a symbol, an icon for long-term thinking. It's of monumental scale inside a mountain in West Texas. The father of the Clock is Danny Hillis. He's been thinking about and working on the Clock since 1989. He wanted to build a Clock that ticks once a year, where the century hand advances once every 100 years, and the cuckoo comes out on the millennium. The vision was, and still is, to build a Clock that will keep time for the next 10,000 years. I've been helping Danny with the project for the last half dozen years. 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.
The mountain has five rooms designated for five anniversary chambers: 1 year, 10 year, 100 year, 1,000 year, and 10,000 year anniversaries, according to Bezos. Except for the first two, the anniversary chambers are left for the future generations to build.
Some of partners collaborating on this project are: Applied Minds, The Long Now Foundation, Penguin Automated Systems, Inc., Swaggart Brothers, Inc., Seattle Solstice, Machinists, Inc.
The investment Bezos put into this clock project amounts to $42 million.