Why Is Jeff Bezos Building a Massive Clock in a Texas Mountain?
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos wants to take people to space, but one of his other ventures takes him deep underground. Bezos [pictured here] announced that a project he is backing, a massive clock intended to last 10,000 years deep inside a mountain in West Texas, is now being installed.
After nearly two decades running Amazon, Bezos -- who was recently crowned the world's richest person -- began branching out to other ventures including Blue Origin, an aerospace travel company he created in secret in 2000. Intended to create affordable space travel, Blue Origin is working on sending tourists to space as early as this year, according to the Washington Post -- which is owned by Bezos.
The 10,000 Year Clock is 500 feet tall, powered by thermal cycles, and is synchronized at solar noon, according to a tweet from Bezos on Tuesday.
"It's a special Clock, designed to be a symbol, an icon for long-term thinking," wrote Bezos in a blog post on the 10,000 Year Clock's website. "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 revealed that he has been helping the founder of the 10,000 Year Clock, Danny Hillis, for the "last half dozen years." The clock in Hillis' vision will tick once every year, the century hand will advance once every 100 years, and a cuckoo will come out every millennium.
Bezos' connection to the 10,000 Year Clock was chronicled in an article by Wired Magazine in 2011, when Bezos gave $42 million to Hillis to begin the project.
"In the year 4000, you'll go see this clock and you'll wonder, 'why on Earth did they build this?'," said Bezos to Wired.
The mountain in West Texas was selected in part to its lack of seismic activity, a solid rock material made of dolomitic limestone, and its proximity to Bezos' private ranch and Blue Origin's testing facility, according to Wired.
The exact location of the clock has not been announced -- but Bezos wrote in the blog post that travel to the mountain is arduous. The nearest airport is several hours away and the 2,000 feet hike up to the mountain will be rugged.
But Bezos said the clock will be open to visitors -- once the clock is complete several years from now.
© 2018 San Jose Mercury News under contract with NewsEdge/Acquire Media. All rights reserved.
Posted: 2018-02-24 @ 8:25am PT
$42 million to build a clock just to serve as an 'icon for long-term thinking'? I dunno, but that sounds pretty cuckoo to me.