A 500-foot-tall clock designed to encourage long-range thinking is being constructed inside a mountain range in West Texas on property owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Bezos released a time-lapse video of the installation on Tuesday.
The clock is a project of the Long Now Foundation and it’s meant to encourage people to think about the distant future, or the “long now,” as inventor Danny Hillis told NPR’s Steve Inskeep in an interview on Morning Edition in 2013.
Hillis designed the timepiece to run for 10 millennia with minimal maintenance and interruption. Instead of seconds and minutes, it measures time in years and centuries.
The BBC reported that the project has attracted the support of influential artists and thinkers. Bezos has put $42 million of his own money into the project.
The clock, designed to survive neglect, is expected to capture energy from the sun, using changes in temperature and a system of weights to power its timekeeping apparatus. It doesn’t have the capability to store enough energy to display the time unless visitors “wind” it with a hand-turned wheel.
It will have gears, chimes and a pendulum, made of stainless steel, titanium and high-tech ceramics, but Hillis says it will be very different from a standard clock.
“One of the big differences is that it runs very, very slowly. It ticks very slowly. Another big difference is that it actually doesn’t show you the time when you go up to it. It doesn’t show you the time until you wind it. The clock face shows the positions of the planets and the moon and the stars so it’s hopefully kind of a universal clock face that would make sense for somebody who doesn’t use exactly the same timekeeping systems that we do.”
There is no scheduled completion date for the project but when it is finished, visitors will be able to hike to the site see it.
For updates on the project the team has launched the website 10000yearclock.net.