Science Fiction Becomes Reality 09: Hyperloop One

We humans seem to want to get to where we are going as fast as possible. I mean, why should we waste precious time in transit when we can develop modes of travel like the bullet train, the supersonic aircraft, and the Hyperloop One? What is Hyperloop One, you ask? Read on to discover which Sci-Fi writer predicted it, and how it is becoming a reality now.

Hyperloop: The Sci-Fi Version

Did you know that legendary writer, Jules Verne, had a son? Michel Verne followed in his father’s footsteps when he became an editor and writer. In the late 1800s, he wrote An Express of the Future, which was published under his father’s name because the editor actually goofed and used the wrong name. Though Michel was an accomplished writer, most of the publishing industry thought his father was better (and more marketable) so they left it as being published by Jules. Published in 1888, the Sci-Fi short story describes a theoretical transatlantic tunnel where trains are propelled through pneumatic tubes by pressurized air:

“Coming at once to the question of working, he filled the tubes—transformed into a sort of pea-shooter of interminable length—with a series of carriages, to be carried with their travellers by powerful currents of air.”

pneumatic_dispatch_-_figure_7When I think of pnematic tubes, the old-school mail tube systems come to mind:

slide_1292021285receivingpapersthroughapneumatictubeNot exactly high-tech. But it sure was in 1888.

How It Is Becoming Reality

Now to answer your question: what is Hyperloop One? It all started with Elon Musk, the billionare inventor, who was toying with the idea that we humans could get to space and anywhere on Earth faster…and safer. In 2013, Musk unveiled his concept for a Hyperloop—a high-speed, solar-powered transportation system that would shoot passengers in a tube from point A to point B at nearly 700 hundred miles per hour—which included a route that paralleled the Interstate 5 freeway from Los Angeles to San Francisco in California.

hyperloop

You would think that Musk would be initimately involved with the development, creation, and execution of this idea but actually he’s not. Guess he’s busy enough with his dream of getting us to Mars as CEO of SpaceX. Hyperloop One is actually a company in Los Angeles that is turning Musk’s idea into reality and recently did a test demo in May 2016 of its propulsion technology at a track north of Las Vegas.

While the demo of Hyperloop One was successful, it has a a long way to go before we see the high-speed, human-carrying, public transportation come to any of our towns however. The land required to build the track alone presents a problem and the estimated $6 billion price tag. But hyperloop technology does represent a leap in the right direction: instead of spending six hours in a car traveling from Los Angeles to San Francisco, you could get there in half an hour. Less cars means less pollution and traffic. And, if Hyperloop One can run on solar or electric power then it may just transform how we get from point A to point B while treating the planet a little better too. Sounds like a win-win to me.

Now, I’d love to hear from you. What science-fiction ideas have you recently read about or have you seen in movies that you predict we’ll be using very soon? Let me know in the comments!

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Dana Leipold

Continuity Director
Dana is a freelance writer, author, and member of the Association of Independent Authors. She has self-published three books practices yoga, loves funny cat videos, and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two children.

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