The Future of Travel
First of all, let’s just be eminently sensible. The best way to travel for the ecosystem and Earth’s general well being is to…. STAY PUT. Don’t go anywhere. Even the act of manufacturing a bicycle does all kinds of damage to the planet. However, that’s absolutely dull, drab, and dry. Move it
Humans want to move. We’re descended from nomads who never stopped chasing the seasons and moved with nature, just like
geese and frogs (not a real thing - I made it up). Thus, we will move because it’s in our nature, so let’s just embrace that. Movement is possible in two broad ways.
We can use combustion (burn stuff to release energy) or we can use the natural physics of our world and extract energy from that. Combustion engines are partially to blame for the climate crisis, but we can’t just abandon them with great haste. We’ll need to move into a hybrid way of transporting ourselves. Combustion engines will be used when great speed (like in planes taking off) to best gravity/friction is required, but batteries can kick in when the object is already moving. You just need to efficiently counteract factors like air resistance (air molecules that push you back), friction (rubbing against objects like the ground), and gravity (bashing us into the ground).
The video above talks about the concept of a skyhook flinging us out into space while using just a fraction of the energy a standard rocket uses. It’s going to be unbelievably difficult and expensive, but the rewards will be fabulous. If we can take heavy payloads (the stuff inside spaceships that needs to be transported) into space by tethering it to an impossibly strong fibre hanging in space, we’re halfway there. Then, we use centripetal force to keep the skyhook spinning in the sky. When it grabs our spaceships and keeps spinning, we can generate centrifugal force to fling the spaceships out in the direction we choose (like to Mars). But, physics doesn’t need to only help us reach space. We can use a bit right down here on Earth.
Air pressure and Electro-mangnetism
To get a little refresher on how strong air is, click here - Exploring Air & Air Pressure. Air, though totally transparent, has matter. Just like you and toilet seats are made of matter, so too is air. All matter takes up space. Thus, you can use the mass of air to push things. If you put a train inside a tube, seal the tube completely to create a vacuum, and then push air into the tube behind the train, you can…. FIRE the train forward with far less energy by using the power of air. A vacuum is able to lift the vehicle and remove friction. Elon Musk is all over this idea. By creating a vacuum-vehicle in a tube, you can remove obstacles, you can bury unsightly roads away from people and animals (all of those poor bugs that get squashed!), and move things efficiently. It’ll cost an absolute fortune to create, but….long-term, it could change travel entirely. You’d simply hop onto high speed trains that have no moving parts inside of them. Trains could be moved from track to track by magnetic force. Electromagnetism could also push and pull vehicles to make them start easily and without energy usage. We just need to test, test, test, test, and test some more.
Here’s the kicker, though. This won’t work if we think about ONLY ourselves. We can’t think individually, we must think collectively. A collective network of hyper-loop tunnels would need EVERYONE TO RAISE THEIR HANDS AND SAY, “I’M IN!”
If we do that, we can change transportation on Earth forever. Then, we can think about space a bit more.