I think I can hear the engineers over at the Long Now foundation pissing their pants with laughter:
They are only aiming for 10,000 years. A walk in the park compared to this apparently godlike and immutable mp3 player atop a painted plywood box. Has this guy even heard of atomic diffusion? Not like it'll last long enough for that to even come close to becoming a relevant factor.
Where do people get this idea that machines are eternal? It's outrageously rare to find a machine more complex than an adjustable wrench that lasts half a lifetime, let alone surpasses generations, but in nearly all of fiction machines are portrayed as ageless things that dwarf our puny lifespans as fragile meat-beings. It's simply not true.
This is a weird tangent, sorry for derailing.
My BMW R50/5 just turned 47, getting real close to that over-the-hill party. I'm planning to buy it a cake in a few years, plus I've got the parts for a top-end reseal. Going to be real classy. Definitely looking forward to it.
> "Most parts of the installation were chosen to be as durable as possible, but I'm sure the harsh environment of the desert will devour the installation eventually."
Then you watch the video and... yeah. I can think of a lot better ways to do that. The wires aren't even protected at all.
I'm with you. "Eventually" here is about a week.
I lived in West Africa, I went to the desert, and a week seems very generous.
That can't be right. Despacito has 5.9bn views on Youtube now and came out in January, 2017.
Cool idea though
Metaphorical Mount Olympus must lie in every human heart.
Edit: For the defeatists, I meant if you had access to all the Earth's resources and the full effort of mankind.
Sphere should be mosty empty so that it has lower density than sand - it will float on it no matter how the dunes change.
Add small electric engines that rotate against the sphere in 2 axis, that will move the sphere back to its desired geographic position slowly.
You can pretty much seal up everything else (encased in a solid glass cube, e.g.). You may want an inert out-gassing source internally, but that would probably only last a few millennia.
Lead-acids would be garbage after 5 years, unless they were way oversized. After about 20 years, failure would be inevitable.
Ultracapacitors would probably last north of 50 years.
Whatever you encase the PV within needs to allow sunlight through. Diamond would probably not work for this. Silicon itself is freakin' hard (about 9 on the Mohs scale) so it would outperform even quartz in terms of abrasion resistance, and you could put its contacts on the back to keep them from eroding away. Silicon needs a different layer on the front to couple its high index of refraction to the incident light, and I'm not aware of any superior optically clear materials that could accomplish this.
Am not a speaker expert, but I'd be surprised if they didn't fail before the rest of the system. Apple's iPhone speakers will warble themselves dry after they're immersed in water, so I'm wondering if constant Toto will keep the sand out of the speakers.
An ultrasonic-interference sound generator based on piezoelectric elements might outperform a conventional speaker setup. Tinny > Short-lived.
The mechanical transducers in the loudspeakers are the big weak point though. Suspensions, foam mountings, the voice coil magnets themselves, the cone; all subject to stress. Under ideal conditions, hundreds of thousands of hours of use. A desert is far from ideal - fine dust and temperature extremes - though far from disastrous too (a damp salty cave by a tropical ocean). Hundreds of thousands of hours gets you a decade and a half of play. So only 54,999,985 years to engineer for.
Alternative speaker tech (piezo speakers maybe?) could last longer. But it's limited! Fine moving parts are anathema to this kind of longevity experiment.
EDIT: Actually I'd encase the electronics in a giant diamond; glass would get scoured rough by the sand pretty quickly, to the detriment of the PVs.
They are finally starting to build the thing, pretty exciting for someone one who has followed the project for 10+ years:
10,000 years might be the 1st baby step to building something to last 55 million, but that number is so large I would say it is effectively impossible.
That or robots...
What I want to know - who's going to sort out the mess this is going to cause with streaming fees?
(1) to perform or display it at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered; or
(2) to transmit or otherwise communicate a performance or display of the work to a place specified by clause (1) or to the public, by means of any device or process, whether the members of the public capable of receiving the performance or display receive it in the same place or in separate places and at the same time or at different times."
17 USC §101
(note that this doesn't appear to answer your question!)
Here's the Namibian copyright act from 1994
which does include an exclusive right to "perform in public" a copyrighted work, and doesn't seem to further define or clarify this concept.