What are you doing for the next 10 thousand years? There is a plan to build a clock that will keep time accurately for 10k years. The main purpose of this is to get people to think long term and perhaps alter there actions accordingly. The clock is being placed in a cave because it is believed to be the most stable environment available.
Danny Hillis is building this clock. He makes some good points about the construction.
If something becomes unimportant to people, it gets scrapped for parts; if it becomes important, it turns into a symbol and must eventually be destroyed.” f something becomes unimportant to people, it gets scrapped for parts; if it becomes important, it turns into a symbol and must eventually be destroyed. The only way to survive over the long run is to be made of materials large and worthless, like Stonehenge and the Pyramids, or to become lost. The Dead Sea Scrolls managed to survive by remaining lost for a couple millennia”
Long term man made experiments have been taking place for about one hundred years. Observations of things in caves long term include.
1. Temperature readings using stalactites layer analysis.
2. Mud samples are used to tell climate in the past.
3. Natural nuclear reactors in Gabon could be used to test for changes in physical constants over time.
Could we set up an experiment in a cave now that would gather results for the next 10k years?
The choice of cave is important. It should be geologically uninteresting, no earthquakes volcanoes etc . The cave needs to be geographically isolated i.e. High above sea. Adding permanent structures to caves is a fairly bad idea. Also there is little point doing this unless people see it. So a tourist cave would be ideal given that it is fairly extensively damaged already.
So what experiment could you think of that would give out answers for 10k years? Apart form the Gedanken experiment could any of these actually be set up?
There are a few physics experiments that have been running for over a hundred years
The reason for thinking like this is not so much the egomania of “we will have giant tombs to ourselves in a few millennia” just to remind us that our actions do have long term consequences. For instance Newgrange can be regarded as a clock of the long now build six thousand years ago. The construction of the new motorway near the hill of Tara to me indicates a lack of this sort of long term thinking. Do we have the right to alter ancient still undiscovered long now tools to build a motorway for a technology that will probably be obsolete in a few decades?