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Far Out Tech

Elon Musk and His Outrageous Idea to Travel Between Los Angeles and San Francisco in Just 30 Minutes

Elon Musk and His Outrageous Idea to Travel Between Los Angeles and San Francisco in Just 30 Minutes
Image credit: 33rdsquare.com

Far Out Tech

It seems like every other day we read about some far-out, new technology that makes us scratch our heads and say, "What the heck?" In this series, we'll take a look at all types of crazy new gadgets, apps and other technologies -- and the entrepreneurs dreaming them up.

As if space travel wasn't out there enough, tech entrepreneur Elon Musk wants to blow the minds of frequent travelers. The founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors says he wants to create something called the Hyperloop, a super-fast way to travel. How fast? You could get from Los Angeles to San Francisco in about 30 minutes.

You can put away your calculators. We've done the math for you. That's approximately 12.5 miles per minute, or about 750 mph. It puts California's bullet train project to shame. That train travels between the two cities in just under three hours.

So far, details about this idea have been vague. Musk has described it only as "a cross between a Concorde, a rail gun, and an air hockey table." But Musk has promised more details by way of publishing the "Hyperloop alpha design" on August 12.

In the meantime, Business Insider thinks it may have an idea of what the Hyperloop could be. In 1972, the Rand Corporation released a paper that detailed a high-speed underground tube system that could transport people across the U.S. Perhaps there are some similarities between a vacuum-powered tube system and the railgun-air hockey table style system Musk is talking about.

No doubt, traveling at high speed would be a boon for frequent business travelers. Imagine being able to travel across the U.S. in a matter of minutes, not hours. 

But is the Hyperloop actually feasible? For a project like this to have cross-country potential, it would conceivably have to jump a number of serious political and engineering hurdles. Not easy. And not inexpensive, either.

Fingers crossed Musk's plan isn't just a pipe dream.

Correction: A previous version of this article featured an image depicting a project that was not associated with Elon Musk.
 

Jason Fell is the managing editor of Entrepreneur.com.

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