The clock will be accurate for the next 10,000 years
When you are the richest person in the world, worth around $126 billion, you are entitled to invest in pet projects that range from those that are beyond the reach of mere millionaires – like starting up your own space company – to the more niche, bordering bonkers, like building a mechanical clock that’ll be accurate for 10,000 inside a mountain in the Sierra Diablo Mountain Range. That it’ll cost you $42 million to do so is inconsequential.
The 500-foot tall clock will be powered by thermal cycles and is synchronized to solar noon. Explaining the concept in a blog post, Bezos explains that the idea of the clock was conceived as far back as 1989 by Danny Hillis. Bezos got involved around six years ago and this ambitious project is now in its final stages of construction, and only a few years away from completion.
It’s built such that it’ll tick once a year, the century hand will advance once every 100 years and the cuckoo will only come out on the millennium. The clock will keep the time for the next 10,000 years without any intervention from mankind. The chiming mechanism will create a unique chiming sequence every day for the next 10,000 years.
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 won’t be easy to get to the clock. The nearest airport is several hours away by car, and the trail that you must navigate on foot to reach the clock is rugged. Access to the clock will be via tunnels and chambers built into the mountain face. Situated around 2,000 feet above the valley floor, it seems that there is a concerted effort to restrict access to the clock.
The specific location was chosen, according to one report, because the mountain is in an area of low seismic activity and the solid dolomite rock is regarded as ideal to house a structure designed to be around for the next 10,000 years. That it is located close to Bezos’ private ranch and his Blue Origin’s testing facility, are added incentives for the billionaire promoter.
There will be five special chambers built into the mountain which are anniversary chambers designed to celebrate the 1-year- , 10-year- , 100-year- , 1,000-year- and 10,000-year-anniversary of the clock. While the one-year anniversary room will be an orrey which includes the planets and the Earth’s moon, designed to enact its sequence at the solar noon of the anniversary, Bezos is open to crowd-sourcing ideas for the 10-year anniversary room, while he’ll leave the ideas for 100, 1,000 and 10,000 year to be determined by future generations.
Bezos has always been about the long game.