Elon Musk Discusses Hyperloop at MIT

 MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics Department's 2014 Centennial Celebration
MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics Department’s 2014 Centennial Celebration

The MIT AeroAstro Centennial Symposium was where Elon Musk answered a question on the Hyperloop. The question was prompted by Elliot Owen, who built a working model of the hyperloop tube and pods (that can be seen below). The question can be seen in the link below, at the 01:02:00 mark:


Here are some key points answered by Elon;

  • He was asked by on whether temperature of the Hyperloop tube would be too high. Elon responded that the diameter of the hyperloop tube would be twice the diameter of the hyperloop pod, to allow air to flow around the pod. You dont want a tight fit.
  • Inner part of the hyperloop tube must be smooth. So you might even have to run a grinder in the inside of the tube to smooth it out.
  • The air-ski’s are spring when the pod is moving through the tube.
  • Expansion of the tube, due to thermal differences, must happen at the terminals. Each pylon must also be allowed to stretch, and you can’t hard constrain it at the pylons.

So much more in the interview and questions, so just watch the whole interview. Below are Elliot Owen’s working model of the hyperloop & presentation.

Commuting via Hyperloop

A Colorado Hyperloop Ad

The morning commute to work or school is an experience that most of us would rather not have to do. In a car company sponsored post on the website Good.is, we learn that countries spend money (shock! Perhaps earned from taxes?!) on commuters for the infrastructure that they use!

Whether they get to work by lanes, trains or ferries, commuters around the world are increasing in number, and cities are taking notice. The investment in public transportation, in the infrastructure and convenience of daily travel, is not cheap, currently ranging from a cost of $2,492 in Istanbul to $9,229 in New York per commuter. …
By expanding their networks, however, cities around the world are getting ready for a booming return on their investment.

The infographic that goes along with the article projects an increase in ridership (and walking and bikership) by 2030.

What if commuting on the hyperloop meant that you would get paid for your ride? If congestion gets so bad on roads and highways as well as above ground trains, the hyperloop would harness its energy efficient, fast and safe transportation to undercut the expensive, dirty and unsafe other transportation. Just check out the latest advertisement from the Colorado Hyperloop.

A good deal?
A good deal?

HS2 in the UK and the Public Debate

Certainly the game is afoot in the UK. There is so much debate happening about the High Speed Rail going from London up to the north.

In order to get more information go to http://www.theguardian.com/uk/hs2 and read some of the recient articles. This is such a huge topic that its hard to overstate the role the project will play in society and political implementation for generations.

While HS2 is no Hyperloop, the costs of the project are beyond belief.

Certainly there could be a better way to make high speed transport cheaper?

The UK is certainly capable of pushing a large transport project to be built. The approach to upgrading rail is nothing new and but this time it has sparked a nerve in the wider society by the very Government that has pushed for austitarity. The polar opposite political ambitions are dividing the society and the parties.

If a political party in Colorado introduced a large scale project to upgrade the existing rail lines from Pueblo all the way north to Cheyenne Wyoming, so passengers could be swiftly transported, what would the reaction be?

Are any political party in Colorado capable of making such a daring proposal? What if two parties worked together? Could a Hyperloop project be supported even with the backing of two parties?

The core of the Colorado Hyperloop is really a test of political will. Do Colorado Citizens have enough political will to push their parties to develop innovative ideas?

One indication might be from the defeat of Amendment 66 http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_24479256/amendment-66-defeat-capped-year-challenges-gov-hickenlooper.

Even the Governor with both House and Senate could not get extra monies from the very citizens who elected them to improve public schools. Would the citizens of Colorado approve of state spending monies on developing the Hyperloop even if only a hundred jobs would be created? We all know the hyperloop construction will be automated, as will its operation. The Hyperloop will not need people for its maintenance nor it will it depend on pensioned staff or expensive staff.

Could the Hyperloop be brought to design and construction and operated completely with democratic support from every group (including NIMBY’s)? This would require a revolution in projects.

I am not sure if there is current models that could make such a project happen.

That is where UK public discourse comes in. Last week a well known British person told a news presenter why he did not vote in elections: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/nov/07/russell-brand-row-nick-clegg-jeremy-paxman

The main reason is that the political parties are not representing the people. Now I am reminded of a quote: “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” – Winston Churchill

The Colorado Hyperloop needs to not only be built, but getting the political will will also have to done completely with innovative techniques. Nothing in the Hyperloop project will be like any other transport project.