Inventor Danny Hill first hatched the idea for the "Clock of the Long Now" in 1989. Since then, not only has he been working on it, construction on a series of tunnels and chambers has been underway in the Sierra Diablo mountain range, where the clock is to be buried. The location is several hours from the nearest airport and forces visitors to hike a rugged 2,000-foot trail above the valley floor.
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The clock's final design is reportedly near completion. Fabrication of full-scale clock parts are now in progress. Stainless steel will be used to manufacture most parts, but all bearings will be ceramic. The clock will be powered by a thermoelectric generator, drawing electricity from the temperature difference between the hot exterior and the cool interior of the cave. A self-adjusting "solar sychronizer" will help the clock keep accurate time.
The clock's chime generator will create a different sequence of ringing bells once a day. On its one-year anniversary, the Clock of the Long Now will run a special orrery, a moving mechanical model of the solar system that will also include all space probes launched in the 20th century.
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"As I see it, humans are now technologically advanced enough that we can create not only extraordinary wonders but also civilization-scale problems," said Jeff Bezos, Hillis' partner in the endeavor, according to GizMag. "We're likely to need more long-term thinking."