A billionaire businessman is bringing Futurama and The Jetsons to life and it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
As of this year, two different companies began work on the Hyperloop, a transportation system that would shoot us from city to city in pressurized pods at more than 550 miles per hour.
One of the men behind this is Elon Musk, who is also is in the news this week for wanting to “plug AI into our brains.” I think we’ve all read enough sci-fi novels to know what the repercussions and technical challenges could be.
Pollyannaish hypotheticals of tube transportation (I’ve already seen a few in Facebook video form) are great in theory. We get to our desired location in lightning speed. Taking passengers from Portland to Seattle in 15 minutes, Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30, Dubai to Abu Dhabi in 12 and London to Manchester in 18.
The reality is something more like the movie Passengers. Everything seems peachy…until it doesn’t. The technology fails.
Chris Pratt wakes you up because he’s lonely and you get sucked into space. A single malfunction and everyone in the Hyperloop dies. You might be wondering how this differs from airplanes, which are also fast and pressurized for our comfort.
Tube technology is a bit trickier than some Amelia Earhart sh*t.
Scientists have come together to discuss possible risks and the best possible outcome is decompression sickness (ask any scuba diver about “the bends”). Below, you’ll find the worst outcome, courtesy of biochemist Dr. Phil Mason.
Any failure whatsoever will rip though that 2 centimeter outer tube like candy. Now sure, anybody in the capsule would die pretty much instantly in the event of a crash…but a single breach in the Hyperloop would probably kill everybody else in the Hyperloop because air would rush into the tube at about the speed of sound.
The Daily Caller’s Andrew Follett writes that, “Any rupture or crack in the Hyperloop capsule for any reason would expose the passengers to hard vacuum, causing them to die in exactly the same way they would in deep space.”
What’s the status update on personal spacecraft and flying cars? Because I can’t think of many worse ways to die. On the other hand, I’m sick of driving so tell me the odds are in my favor and I might be inclined to try it IF it’s ever actually completed. Musk’s Hyperloop One and the competing company will likely run into about as many issues as Paul Ryan’s currently having with Obamacare.
Elon Musk’s intentions are great, I’m sure. Money, fame and unintentional mass murder. Perhaps his next project will involve preserving our heads in jars? Or suicide booths for people whose loved ones were eaten by the Hyperloop.