High in the mountains of Sierra Diablo Mountain Range lays a special project- the
10,000 Year Clock. This is a special clock designed to be an icon for long-term
thinking. The originator of the clock is Danny Hillis who has been working on this
project since 1989. His idea was to build a clock that "ticks once a year, 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." (Bezos)
To get to the clock the visitor must be prepared to travel long hours from the airport
by car and be fit enough to climb up a foot trail where the clock is located, almost
2000 feet above the valley. When the visitor has finally arrived at the primary
chamber he/she will see the face of the Clock. If you look closely inside the inner
works of the Clock you will notice the time of the day. However, to get the correct
time you will have "to set" the clock as it displays an older time given by the
person who visited before. While the clock calculates the correct time it will only
display it if the visitor winds up the display wheel.
To run, the clock uses energy captured in temperature changes between day and night.
To withstand the test of time most moving parts of the clock are made of marine
grade, 316, stainless steel. As the tolerance of the Clock is in fractions of inch,
not thousandth, the expansion by rust film will not have a dramatic impact on the
works. To counteract galvanic corrosion some important parts are non-metallic. They
are made out of high-tech ceramics. Ceramic is a material that can outlast most
metals and can be utilized in different environments. Modern ceramic can be as hard
as diamonds. All bearings in the clock are made out of ceramic material. Due to
the nature of the material, ceramic bearings do not require lubrications. Among
the bearings used in the clock are R168-PP/TP/C3Z/S#5 AF2 and FR168-PP/TP/C3Z/S#5
AF2, both have rolling material made of silicon nitride and bearing material made
of cubic zirconia.
Carved into the mountain are five room-sized anniversary chambers: 1 year, 10 year,
100 year, 1,000 year, and 10,000 year anniversaries. The one year anniversary chamber
is a special orrery. In addition to the planets and the Earth's moon, it includes
all of the interplanetary probes launched during the 20th century, humankind's first
century in space. Among others, you'll see the Grand Tour: Voyager 2's swing by
of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. The Clock will activate and run the orrery
once a year on a pre-determined date at solar noon.
"We aren't planning to build the animations for the 100, 1,000, and 10,000
year anniversary chambers, but will instead leave those to future generations. We
are providing a mechanical interface into those chambers that provides those future
builders with power and the correct clock triggering events. We do intend to build
the animation for the 10 year anniversary chamber, but haven't decided what it will
be yet. If you have an interesting idea for the 10 year anniversary chamber, please
feel free to email it to firstname.lastname@example.org,
and we'll add it to the mix of ideas." (Bezos)
Kelly, K. (n.d.). Clock in the mountain. Retrieved from
Bezos, J. (n.d.). Welcome to the 10,000 year clock website. Retrieved from
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