In Texas under the Sierra Diablo mountain range their lives one of the most audacious
engineering achievements ever conceived – the Clock of the Long Now. Designed by
Danny Hillis it will run for 10000 years with little or no maintenance and is hoped to
symbolise long-term thinking on a scale that no one can deny.
A few things that, due to its ambition, make it extraordinary:
- Unable to rely on any power source on earth for that long, the clock harvest energy from the sun.
- Despite being made from the highest feasible grade of Titanium they have to factor in wear and tear into the mechanisms and therefore its time keeping.
- In order to symbolise progression rather than just repetition, the clocks chime will be different every day for 10000 years (and have been designed by Brain Eno)
- They are creating mechanical interfaces into the rooms which will activate at the 1, 100, 1000 and 10,000 year anniversaries.
- Contact within the clock is minimised by running as much as possible on ceramic bearings.
The questions that the makers of the clock hope you will ask are:
- If we can make a clock that will last for 10 millennia what else can we achieve?
- Are we being good ancestors what are we bequeathing to any further generations (we
- can’t claim the pyramids as our own by the way)
- What is our role in the long goal?
- These questions are plenty to ponder I think as well as just respecting the marvel that is the clock of the long now.
It has certainly got me thinking: As ancestors – how can we be more?