While the Y2K bug turned out to be a bust, the concept behind it is pretty solid.
I have always had a lingering concern for 3:14:07 am on January 19th, 2038 UTC, as that is the last second representable in signed Unix time, and time in systems that still use that representation will wrap around to January 1, 1970. (See the year 2038 problem.)
At the time, 70 years in the future seemed infinitely far away.
There is no chance this will still be running in 70 years.
— Likely said by someone on the POSIX committee.
Unfortunately, that type of thinking just cost a very expensive space probe. 8 years into the Deep Impact mission that was designed for a single event, its clock rolled over, the probe couldn't figure out where the sun was and so couldn't point its solar panels at it, and lost power.
"Basically, it was a Y2K problem, where some software didn't roll over the calendar date correctly," said A'Hearn. The spacecraft's fault-protection software (ironically enough) would have misread any date after August 11, 2013, he said, triggering an endless series of computer reboots aboard Deep Impact.
— "NASA Declares End to Deep Impact Comet Mission", National Geographic
As always, anthropomorphized space probes pull at the heart strings:
Little space craft gets confused, lost, starves to death. #anthropomorphism MT“@mitsuhiko: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/09/130920-deep-impact-ends-comet-mission-nasa-jpl/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social&utm_content=link_fb20130921news-cometmisdea&utm_campaign=Content”