Newcastle to Sydney in 13 minutes. Yeah baby! Sounds like a pipe dream doesn’t it?
Not if billionaires Elon Musk and Richard Branson get their way. And they usually do.
Musk, who founded the electric car company Tesla, was recently granted planning permission to dig tunnels in Maryland in the US for his Hyperloop transport project.
The system involves tubular pods hurtling down a magnetic track, using levitation, low pressure and solar power to hit speeds of about 1100km/h.
It aims to transport passengers from Washington to New York City in 29 minutes.
Can one of our pollies get on the blower to Elon and sort us with one of these babies?
You might remember Elon as the bloke who hooked up South Australia with “the world’s largest lithium battery” to store power.
And, we might add, it was built within the 100-day timeline that Elon set.
A few years back, Elon described the Hyperloop system as a “cross between a Concorde, a railgun and an air-hockey table”.
For years, there’s been talk about a fast train from Newcastle to Sydney.
But Elon’s not a fan of high-speed rail. He reckons it’s too slow and too expensive.
Fares on his Hyperloop system would apparently be way cheaper than fast trains.
There must be something to this Hyperloop thing, considering Richard Branson is now getting onboard.
He’s partnered with a company called Hyperloop One, giving Elon some competition.
The route estimator on Hyperloop One’s website suggests a trip from Newcastle to Sydney using this new form of transport would take 13 minutes.
We’re not sure if this is entirely accurate, given that Hyperloop speeds have so far only reached about 387 km/h.
Nevertheless, the speeds are planned to go much higher.
Mars and Robots
As well as building a Hyperloop system, Elon Musk is also aiming to set up a colony on Mars and stop robots from destroying mankind.
And his company Neuralink is working on ways to implant technology into our brains to create “mind-computer interfaces”.
The idea is to boost human health and brainpower. The aim is to help the human race become smart enough to stop artificial intelligence from eliminating it.
Speaking of big ideas, Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison has referenced the famous monorail episode from the TV show The Simpsons, while discussing the NSW government’s plan for a new Maitland Hospital.
Jenny is none too pleased with the government’s plan for a not-for-profit operator to run the hospital. She wants to keep it in public hands.
“If this goes ahead, it will be the biggest swindle perpetrated on a community since The Simpsons episode about the monorail,” she quipped.