By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer
What do PayPal, SpaceX, and Tesla Motors have in common? At a glance, I’d guess nothing. Paypal is a business that lets you send money through the internet while SpaceX is a company that builds and launches advanced rockets into space! Throw Tesla Motors in the mix – a car company that engineers advanced electric cars – and it’s about as random as you can get. However, a man named Elon Musk founded all three companies. You see, he has focused his energies on advancing three crucial technological areas: the internet, clean energy, and space.
Now, Musk is focused on transportation, or more specifically, a train that will get you from one coast of the US to another in around 45 minutes!
He calls it the Hyperloop. This train is designed inside a long tube (which can be above ground or underwater), and will use magnets to levitate in midair! Since the train is not attached to anything, there is no wind resistance or friction to slow it down. It works kind of like an air hockey table. The puck can float on the air to move much faster across the table because there is less friction. The difference with the train is that magnets hold it up.
Musk said he came up with the idea when he was researching California’s new rail system, which carries a $70 billion price tag. For all that money, you’d think the rail system would be turbo-charged with speed, but no, compared to other high-speed systems around the globe, it’s the slowest. So, while Musk might have been inspired by this Californian rail system, he wants to do nothing less than completely surpass it with speed.
A company in Colorado called ET3 is already working on a Hyperloop-like system, which they named the Evacuated Tube Transport (ETT) system. It will have two tubes – one for each traveling direction – and a small car that carries six passengers each at 370 mph!
You think that’s fast? I thought so too until I read the cars on international trips will travel up to 4,000 mph!
According to sources close to Musk, ET3 is on the right track to building a super-fast train, but he thinks they are missing important parts for their design.
Images courtesy of Elon Musk.