It is a daunting task. One that becomes all the more challenging the more you think about it. Take all of human history – from the stone age to the bronze age to the space and information age – and you have a period of about 10,000 years. Now imagine building something that could last that long.
This is not just the goal of The Long Now Foundation’s 10,000-Year Clock, it’s also the point. In an era of planned obsolescence and technology focused on immediate gratification rather than longevity, it’s difficult for science to impel people to think further than a few years into the future. Frightening projections of population growth, dwindling biodiversity and food supplies, and nightmarish climate change are brushed off by those who don’t envision surviving long enough to see them come true. Even though mankind has dramatically impacted the world in our brief tenure here, we tend to avoid thinking and planning for our collective long term outlook.
This, as Foundation Executive Director Alexander Rose tells us, was what inspired the inception of the 10,000-Year Clock to begin with, and led to the development of the Long Now Foundation itself.
It’s a fascinating project, both in scope and scale, and it has earned the financial support of the planet’s wealthiest patron, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Currently under construction inside a mountain in western Texas’ Sierra Diablo range, the clock will take years to build at a cost upwards of $42 million.
As Alex Rose explains in the video interview, the Foundation had planned on using ceramic bearings since the project’s inception due to their longevity. He cites that ceramic materials made by the earliest humans have already proven they could survive at least 10 millennia.
However, it wasn’t until they put Boca Bearings’ ceramic bearings to the test by cycling them an unprecedented 350 million times that they became confident that these mission-critical materials could endure and remain operational for at least 10,000 years.
Boca Bearings takes great pride in being such a critical part of this profound scientific endeavor. And we are equally proud to offer this same “timeless” degree of quality to our customers every single day.