SPACE PIONEER Elon Musk has revealed his vision for a supersonic ground transport system to whip people between Los Angeles and San Francisco in just half an hour.
The SpaceX and Tesla founder posted some details about his plan on his blog. He said that he is disappointed with high speed trains and has a vision for an alternative.
His plan is to whisk people through a pipe in capsules at terrifying speeds (PDF). You will be able to take the 380 mile journey as a passenger or in a car, apparently.
He said, "When the California 'high speed' rail was approved, I was quite disappointed, as I know many others were too. How could it be that the home of Silicon Valley and JPL - doing incredible things like indexing all the world's knowledge and putting rovers on Mars - would build a bullet train that is both one of the most expensive per mile and one of the slowest in the world?
"The Hyperloop (or something similar) is, in my opinion, the right solution for the specific case of high traffic city pairs that are less than about 1500 km or 900 miles apart."
The Hyperloop is a suitable alternative to high-speed air travel, he said, and will save a lot of traveling time.
"For a sub several hundred mile journey, having a supersonic plane is rather pointless, as you would spend almost all your time slowly ascending and descending and very little time at cruise speed," he explained.
"In order to go fast, you need to be at high altitude where the air density drops exponentially, as air at sea level becomes as thick as molasses (not literally, but you get the picture) as you approach sonic velocity."
Tubes can go over or under the ground, and passengers could sit in a pod designed to be hurled at great speeds. While vacuums and fans could be considered, Musk is going for an air hockey type approach that will see the travel pod sitting on a cushion of air.
The Hyperloop would cost billions of dollars but would send people between Los Angeles and San Francisco at a rate of 28 every two minutes.
It is an open source project, and Musk asked anyone that wants to get involved to get involved. µ
Tags: Boffin Watch
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