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Robert Winner

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Elon Musk's proposed Hyperloop

Elon Musk is proposing a hyperloop for boats, planes, automobiles, and trains. He states he can deliver a system of train transport from LA to SF in 30 minutes (343 miles) at 685 MPH. He claims this can be done for 6 billion or one tenth of the proposed cost of the high speed rail being considered.

Is this possible .... would you ride this? He says facts will be made available in August 2013.

What do you think of this proposal? Should he be considered for a TED Talk? Would you watch it?

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    Jul 17 2013: The thing that concerns me is the implication that you will travel in isolation from any perseption of speed. Anyone who has ridden a high speed train will know that the slightest track bobbles are more violent the faster you go. These tubes are going to have to be incredibly straight, it's amazing what becomes a noticeable corner at 700mph. The other difficulty I see is maintaining a hard vacuum in a tube that is thousands of kilometres long.
    The 1998 Eschede disaster illustrates what happens when a train travelling at 200kmph crashes. One can only imagine what happens at 1000kmph.
    Here is an amusing video that demonstrates what would happen to the capsule if the vacuum failed on one side.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFg68UYpQ30
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      Aug 13 2013: This is not in vacuum, and utilizes air cushions. You can hardly get any better suspension.

      Source: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-08-12/revealed-elon-musk-explains-the-hyperloop#p2

      "Inside the tubes, the pods would be mounted on thin skis made out of inconel, a trusted alloy of SpaceX that can withstand high pressure and heat. Air gets pumped through little holes in the skis to make an air cushion, Musk says. The front of the pod would have a pair of air jet inlets—sort of like the Concorde. An electric turbo compressor would compress the air from the nose and route it to the skis and to the cabin. Magnets on the skis, plus an electromagnetic pulse, would give the pod its initial thrust; reboosting motors along the route would keep the pod moving. And: no sonic boom. With warm air inside the tubes and high tailwinds, the pods could travel at high speeds without crossing the sound barrier. “The pod can go just below the speed of sound relative to the air,” Musk says."

      It frustrates me these links are not at the homepage of this conversation.
      Elon Musks blog:
      http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/hyperloop
      A good critique:
      http://techcrunch.com/2013/08/12/elon-musks-hyperloop-explained-a-technically-possible-sci-fi-dream-hes-to-busy-to-work-on-right-now/

      @ Peter Lindsay - didn't see it was posted three weeks after.. my apoligies.
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        Aug 14 2013: Your source is dated three weeks after my comment. It's hard to do homework on a paper that doesn't yet exist..Regarding the vacuum. He is still preposing a partial vacuum so you still need to maintain an airtight seal over hundreds of kilometers. Elon does have a bit of a habit of coming up with amazing ideas raising capital and then not quite making it work. And before you say SpaceX, it's a perfect example. Falcon9 has been problematic at best. It's just that the US is so embarassed about having to use Russian rockets thay'll give anything a try.

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