Speed, and the Man called Musk
18-Mar-2017


A couple of years ago, I had watched the movie ‘Total Recall’.
It was the less-popular 2012 version, with Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel. Not the very popular 1990 one, with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin and Sharon Stone.
The plot of this new futuristic sci-fi movie is not my concern, now. It is the ‘mode of transportation’ in the movie, which I found simply fascinating and utterly mind-boggling.
The setting of the movie is somewhere in the end of the 21st century. And earth has been devastated by chemical warfare. The little habitable land is divided into two territories - the United Federation of Britain (UFB, located on the British Isles and western mainland Europe) and the Colony (Australia).
And many residents of the Australian Colony travel to the Europe and Britain, to work in factories, each morning; and return home, back to Australia, by the evening!
Thousands of people are commuting between the two places, via “The Fall,” a gravity elevator running through the Earth’s core. A tube-like structure joins the two places in which the passenger modules move at high speeds.
Why did that movie come to my mind now?
It is because of ‘Hyperloop’ news, the proposed newest mode of transportation which is going to radically reduce the speed between Dubai to Abu Dhabi – to just about 12 minutes!
Apparently, this system is going to have passenger pods zipping through great distances through vacuum tubes. And with top speeds of about 1,220 kph (760 mph), close to those of passenger jets, the question people are asking is - Will it be safe?
But then, it is the same question people had asked when the automobile was invented. And when the aeroplane was invented.
With time, Hyperloop can become common too, like how many of the sci fi movies’ creative imaginations have already become real.
‘Hyperloop’ idea was first proposed by Elon Musk in 2013, and is being developed by several firms. The startup company ‘Hyperloop One’, which was formed through his thinking has received $141 million in funding from 21 investors so far.
The company already became the first to build a full-scale prototype of this new speed technology, called DevLoop. And it has revealed, in March 2017, photos of its full-scale prototype, as testing began in the Nevada Desert of USA.
This man called Musk is among the most celebrated inventor-entrepreneurs on earth today. And why wouldn’t he be? When he is either the founder or cofounder of such amazing futuristic companies like Space X, Tesla Inc., SolarCity, PayPal and OpenAI!?
The website futurism.com says that “According to Musk, it would cost around $6 billion to create a Hyperloop line from Los Angeles to San Francisco. If that sounds like a lot, when you look at the cost per mile ($11.5 million) it actually works out to be less than a high-speed rail”.
 Elon Musk is saying that very soon, in the world, we will see this new mode of transportation picking up fast; and that we could soon be even travelling at ‘hypersonic’ speeds.
I was in high school when our Physics teacher gave us the speed of sound as Mach 1 (1235 km/hour or 767 miles/hour). And he told us that a ‘supersonic’ plane, like the concorde, the latest arrival then, could reach a speed of Mach 2 (2470 km/hour or 1535 miles/hour).
Elonk Musk however is of the belief that on earth we would soon be travelling at ‘hypersonic’ speeds which could be up to Mach 5 speeds (6174 km/ hour or 3836 miles/hour)!
If that happens, the travel time between Manama and Paris would be just one hour!


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