Very fast—and very expensive

  1. Build an airtight cylinder about eight meters diameter, 25 meters long.  This will hold nine rows of three seats each.  As shown in the cross-section below, this gives each passenger a space 1.5 meters wide, 2.5 meters high with plenty of space between.  And plenty of space above and below for freight, baggage, vehicle hardware, etc.
  2. Put it in a bigger cylinder underground that goes between the airports in New York and Denver (JFK & DEN).  Distance, just over 2600 kilometers. We need two of these in parallel.  Each contains one vehicle, one at (under) each airport.
  3. Each vehicle has a retractable wall in front and behind.  The rest of the tubes are kept vacuum.  After the passengers are seated and the vehicle is sealed, the compartment air is sucked out and the walls retract.
  4. Each vehicle then accelerates at one gee.  In about eight and a half minutes, it is almost half-way, at a speed of a half percent of the speed of light.  The passengers are pressed into their seats at one gee backward and one gee downward, for a diagonal total of just under 1.5 gee.
  5. At that point, the acceleration ends and the vehicle coasts while the seats rotate.  Then one gee of deceleration starts, bringing the vehicles to a stop at the destination.  Passengers feel the same pressure, since the chairs have rotated.
  6. Total trip takes about seventeen minutes, allowing for one departure every hour, with of time for loading and unloading.
  7. The reason for vacuum is to eliminate air resistance.  Since the vacuum won’t be perfect, the tubes will have cross-vents at many places.  The remaining air will be pushed into vents in front of the vehicle and sucked from them behind the vehicle.  That’s why we need two of them to go in opposite directions.
  8. If this is successful, i.e., if there are enough passengers to pay the HUGE cost of operation, then more routes can be added from Denver to a few other big cities.  Los Angeles, unfortunately, will have to wait until we figure out how to make such a tube invulnerable to movement of the San Andreas and Walker Lane faults.

Simplified cross-section of proposed high-speed vehicle

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One Comment

  1. If you could accelerate a space craft to the same top speed, and coast at that speed most of the way, an earth to Mars trip would take anywhere from four hours to 36 hours, depending on the positions of the two planets.

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