During the 1980s and early 1990s, inventor and computer scientist Danny Hillis designed machines worthy of the new millennium. But then he realized he really hadn’t thought past 2000, writes Wired, so he decided to create the slowest machine possible so that humanity could see beyond that barrier. He wanted to build a mechanical clock that would tick faithfully for 10,000 years.
Fast-forward to this past winter, when Jeff Bezos and his colleagues began assembling the device inside a mountain on Bezos’ West Texas ranch. The clock is housed in a cylindrical 500-foot shaft cut into solid limestone, which visitors will be able to enter through a jade-paneled door. Inside, a staircase spirals around the clock’s innards, which include 5-ton counterweights, 8-foot stainless steel gears, and a 6-foot titanium pendulum.
Bezos helped pay for the project, and told Wired that “whole civilizations will rise and fall” over the life of the clock.
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