You’ve heard about the Hyperloop, right? Right. It’s awesome. It’s going to be awesome. Someday. The Hyperloop is a futuristic means of transportation, a giant global infrastructure project being championed by Elon Musk, the South African technology tycoon who founded Tesla Motors, SpaceX, and PayPal. He’s a modern day George Jetson. Actually, that’s not right, Jetson was a lackey, a corporate drone. Musk is a real life Mr. Spacely, our future overlord boss, just much more benevolent and cool.
The Hyperloop is going to be a series of tubes connecting various locations across the globe. I don’t claim to understand the specifics of the science, but if someone put a gun to my head and demanded that I explain how it works, I’d say that I think it has something to do with the tubes creating some sort of a vacuum. Inside that vacuum, we’d put bullet-shaped cars inside, propelled by magnetic energy.
That’s the best I can do to make sense of what’s going on. But in layman’s terms, what this means is that we’re going to be able to travel from New York to Los Angeles in something like forty-five minutes. It gets better, because the more time a car spends accelerating inside the Hyperloop, the faster it will eventually travel, meaning that a one-way trip from New York to Beijing might be possible in as little as four hours.
Four hours to China! That’s insane to think about. You could plausibly take a long weekend and travel across the globe for a last-minute getaway. Assuming that the prices aren’t prohibitively expensive, and that there are plenty of available seats. I’m guessing that there are going to be a lot of logistical hurdles involved in making this a realistic means of transportation for the average nobody.
It’s inspiring to know that there are actually industry leaders out there making wild proposals that might eventually change the way human beings consider global travel. When I was a little kid, ideas like this were confined solely to the realm of science fiction. Star Trek had the holodeck, even more mundane feats like access to cellphones and Internet were still limited to universities and professionals.
So much has changed in my lifetime alone. In the past century, human beings went from inventing airplanes to developing commercial aviation as an industry to landing spacecraft on various bodies throughout the solar system. I always like to think of the world that my grandparents were born into, how nobody had TVs or telephones. Cut to the present day, my surviving grandparents are in their eighties, my grandmother uses her iPad every day.
What’s that like, witnessing such incredible leaps in global technology? What’s the world going to look like when I’m an old man? Is it really that crazy to imagine an infrastructure of tubes crisscrossing the planet, making travel across the globe as painless as a car ride out of state?
It’s fantastic that we have visionaries like Elon Musk ready, willing and able to invest their personal fortunes into improbable dream projects that might someday benefit all of humanity. It is also a little sad because, up until recent decades, big impossible projects used to be the realm of government agencies. NASA got us to the moon, our elected representatives led us to a bold new era of spaceflight and scientific advancement. The government’s role in innovation today pales in comparison.
I want to see it, I want to take a ride on the Hyperloop so badly. I don’t want to be an old man taking his first cross-planet tube ride at the end of my life, I want to be able to make use of it right now. Let’s get to work, I want this project fast-tracked and operational while I’m still young enough to appreciate how amazing this is going to be. Because future generations, they’re going to grow up with it, they will take it for granted, kind of like how little kids today are being raised on the Internet. But not me, I’ll really, truly, unconditionally love the Hyperloop. I think I already do.
Originally published on HonestBlue.com