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A high-speed, low-cost ground transportation system named Hyperloop is just the latest idea from serial inventor Elon Musk.
Inventor Elon Musk
He's done it again. The latest idea from Elon Musk is hyperloop, a high-speed transportation system that he describes as a combination of a Concorde jet, a rail gun and an air hockey table. It's just the latest idea in a long list of successful ventures this serial inventor has already created. Here's his plan for hyperloop and a look at what else Musk has developed.
Musk has set out to create a self-powering, safe, fast, and low-cost transportation system that is immune to weather and natural disasters and non-disruptive to the landscape. Hyperloop is a system of capsules that travel between major metropolitan areas. At an estimated cost of about $6 billion, it's less than 1/10th the cost of the proposed California High Speed Rail system and magnitudes faster.
The Hyperloop system is made of two major parts: a metal tube that can be prefabricated that will sit on a series of pylons that will be resistant to earthquakes and other natural effects, and a capsule that will carry passengers and cargo.
Each Hyperloop capsule fits 28 people and will depart between every 30 seconds and two minutes, traveling 23 miles apart from one another at speeds of up to 800 miles per hour, shuttling people between San Francisco and Los Angeles in 35 minutes.
Riding on air
The capsules will sit on an air cushion inside the steel tube and be propelled by a linear motor system (similar to the one used in the Tesla Model S), which will have an air intake section that will then shoot the air out the back. External electric motors will line the track and boost the capsules every 70 miles.
SF to LA in 35 minutes
The Hyperloop tube would be constructed in the median of the Interstate 5 highway, which runs between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and will be fitted with solar power panels along the top of the tube to provide power for the system.
The Man behind the wheel at Tesla
Hyperloop isn't Musk's first foray into ground transportation running off of renewable energy. He co-founded luxury electric car manufacturer Telsa in 2003. Musk initially oversaw the company's product strategy, design, engineering and manufacturing for the first model Tesla Roadster, then became CEO of the company to oversee the Model S production and distribution. Model X will be on sale soon.
To infinity, and beyond
Just getting around on Earth isn't good enough for Musk, though – he's looking to space. In 2002, he co-founded SpaceX, a commercial spacecraft company for which he now serves as CEO and Chief Designer. SpaceX is looking to make Earth-orbiting reusable vehicles, and eventually ones that can travel to other planets. Last year, SpaceX became the first commercial spacecraft to attach to the International Space Station, deliver a load and return to earth.
The real life Iron Man
Musk has a variety of other ventures as well. The South Africa native attended the University of Pennsylvania with dual degrees in physics and business and is now worth an estimated $2.7 billion. He co-founded online payment system PayPal and serves as chairman of residential solar supplier SolarCity. He produced the film Thank You For Smoking and is credited with being the partial inspiration for Tony Stark in the Iron Man movies.
Supersonic transport aircraft
Musk has also talked of developing a type of supersonic transport aircraft, though details have been sketchy. This NASA picture shows a model of a model of a future concept supersonic aircraft built by Boeing.