Right now, a clock that will tell time for the next ten millenia is being built into the Sierra Diablo Mountains in Western Texas. But why build a clock so monumental in scale? Because we can.

The idea for a 10,000 year clock is now a classic. Computer scientist Danny Hillis dreamt it up back in 1989 and presented it in 1995. In fact, a working one was built by Hillis and friends' Long Now Foundation back in 1999. It continues to keep time in its home at the Science Museum of London. However, this project is considerably more ambitious. The architectural feat that the Long Now Foundation is now undertaking is to carve a 200-foot-tall clock into a mountain. The clock will tick every year and chime every thousand years.

The project has already attracted big names, including Wired editor Kevin Kelly and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and is well under way, with its many parts being machined in Seattle and California. As Kelly writes:


Ten thousand years is about the age of civilization, so a 10K-year Clock would measure out a future of civilization equal to its past. That assumes we are in the middle of whatever journey we are on – an implicit statement of optimism.

I wonder what our descendants will think when they look upon something like this. And what if we're long gone before the last chime sounds? [10,000 Year Clock via Business Insider, Kevin Kelly]