Elon Musk’s Hyperloop prototype tube is gone. What does it mean for his tunneling dream?
On Friday, January 3, 2016, Musk launched a test tunneling tunnel under the Atlantic Ocean in his latest bid at building an underground train system that would, as he called it in an interview with The Guardian newspaper, “allow an airplane to travel the same distance between New York and Los Angeles in one hour and 20 minutes as three flights now take in under regular airspace.”
As part of the test, Musk built a tube with a diameter of 2.7 meters (9 feet, 3 inches), which would stretch about a hundred meters (328 feet) across the water. In the video below he says he has “just under a mile of tunnel,” although he didn’t go into how much the tube had to be longer or how long it would be.
The tunneling tunnel, as a tunnel, has been out of service for a while. Musk has not been able to explain its disappearance, but after the interview with The Guardian, Musk told reporters that the tunnel had broken its seal, and the water was draining out of the tunnel. When the tunnel was opened this week, Musk has now told reporters that the entire tunnel, including its roof, has been pulled away by the ocean’s currents.
Musk’s hyperloop system is not the only possible solution to high speed transportation in a country like the U.S. It’s also being tested with other projects, including the Chicago Skyway, the Los Angeles Gateway and the California High Speed Rail Authority.
What does this mean for Musk’s vision of building a rail tunnel system around the world? It seems that he is giving up more and more. The idea that a tube could be cut through rock, and then be transported on a rail system is the essence of Musk’s vision. But since he is on the record as saying the tunnel could be built within the next year, it means he is saying the next part of his plan is impossible.
Musk now seems to be turning his attention to trying to build a hyperloop line through the desert, which does offer a solution for those in the middle of the country or on the coasts, though the lines would be longer and more