Last week, the entrepreneur and engineer behind Tesla (TSLA) and SpaceX, Elon Musk, sent the Twitter-sphere into a frenzy when he announced that he would release his plans for a revolutionary new transportation system on August 12th.
Musk calls this system the "Hyperloop."
He describes it as a cross between "a Concorde, a railgun, and an air hockey table."
He says it will be able to whisk you between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and other similar city pairs, in 30 minutes.
No one knows exactly what the Hyperloop is, but every since Musk first mentioned it, people have been speculating. Last week, a Twitter user with the handle @John_Gardi tweeted a diagram that Elon Musk pronounced "the closest I've seen anyone guess so far."
The diagram, which you can see here, shows a looped tube in which vehicles like train cars appear to be being propelled along by air traveling at many hundreds of miles per hour. At the ends of the loop, the cars move out of the air column, decelerate, and then stop in "stations," where they pick up and discharge people. When more people have embarked, the cars are then accelerated to the speed of the air column with magnets, and then they whizz off toward the other end of the loop.
Can Musk make his Hyperloop a reality?
We'll know more when he releases the plans on August 12th.
If any one individual can get a project like this off the ground, though, it would likely be Musk.
Ten years ago, if someone had said that the same entrepreneur would successfully build both the first major new American car company in half a century AND a company that would successfully shoot rockets into space, most people would have laughed. But Musk has done exactly that.
And it's certainly high time that the world was treated to a revolutionary new transportation system, one that might be safer, faster, and more energy efficient than any we have to date.
It has been half a century since sub-sonic commercial jet travel became common. And we haven't seen anything truly new since then.
So even if you're skeptical of Musk and his Hyperloop, tune in next month. If nothing else, it should be an exciting story...
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