@naperlou: When ever I see these "Long Term Plans", I am reminded of a satirical article I read 20 or so years ago where a computer made future projections based solely on the data available at the end of the civil war. It got numerous things right, ie population growth and westward expansion, but failed miserably in others.
The most humorous things I recall were what the two biggest problems would be. One: at the close of the civil war there were X number of horses per person and the population explosion would cause a similar growth in horses leading to the problem of growing enough grass to feed all of the horses required. The author had inventive ways in which to accomplish this, but problem #two was to be the biggest: What were we to do with all of the manure these horses would generate? I think he suggested huge quantities be shipped to Washington DC, but saw that even that would soon be full.
In short, future technologies may render all long term plans equally irrelevant and foolish appearing.
As I was reading through the posts. I kept thinking - how about just making a sundial. There are already a vast assortment of sundial arrangements which are easily adjustable for variations over the course of many, many years and then Stonehenge popped up in the thread. Of course! Not sure that a special 10,000 year clock gives us any more techology than Stonehenge does. Sounds like a vanity project to me!
Making a clock to run for any great length of time without maintenance would be quite an achievement, given the multiple concerns of wear, dirt accumulation, and weathering. And if there is a chime system intended to sound daily, that means a lot more power will be needed. The challenge is that the weather will deliver an accumulation of dirt, and the dirt will get in the way of moving parts as it fills the motion clearances. Of course it is possible that the clock is being built in an exceptionally clean part of Texas, some area that has no dust or wind, but I sort of doubt that. It will be interesting to see if it even runs for one year. How about a more detailed report on the clock after it is finished, possibly including drawings or pictures describing how it captures energy, and how it moves.
You got that right about Stonehenge! Assuming it's not destroyed in an earthquake or other natural disaster, over that period of time the clock will have to accommodate several changes in the length of various time periods--the day, for example--as well as shifts in the declination of various planets and the Moon. I wonder if all that's being considered.
It won't be too much longer and hardware design, as we used to know it, will be remembered alongside the slide rule and the Karnaugh map. You will need to move beyond those familiar bits and bytes into the new world of software centric design.
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