Imagine a subway that travels at 4,000 mph.
That is exactly what some people are proposing. Sounds cool.
ET3.com, Inc., an open consortium looking to implement “space travel on Earth,” has begun selling licenses for its Evacuated Tube Transport (ETT) system, which they claim could take travelers from Washington D.C. to Beijing in just 2 hours, without ever leaving the ground. The company and its advocates say this form of transport is safer, cheaper, greener and much, much faster than planes, trains and cars.
The systems works (in theory) by putting capsules in an evacuated tube, which accelerates up to 4,000 mph in roughly 3 minutes using linear electric motors. Friction is almost completely eliminated, as passive superconductors allow the capsule to “float” within the tubes. The energy used to accelerate the capsules is then recaptured as they slow down. Capsules could drastically range in size according to their contents.
It sounds really cool but when something goes wrong at 4,000 mph, it goes real wrong.