01 Feb Rockets Will Replace Long-Haul Flights in the Near Future
You pack. You drive or you call a cab, an Uber, a Lyft, whichever you prefer. You arrive at the airport. You board. You sit down. You take out your book, your e-reader, your smartphone, and read a few pages, the news, a mobile pokies guide or watch a video. The plane takes off. The plane lands. You exit the plane, take a ride to the hotel. You’ve arrived.
Does this sound fun? No, I don’t think so either. Traveling, in the broadest sense of the world, is great – but the time you spend on a plane can be very boring, to the point of feeling wasted. And this is especially true for the long hours you spend locked inside a metal box with wings while traveling overseas. But things are about to change for the better. In the coming years, a series of companies plan to introduce new ways to reach destinations often half a world away that will be not only more exciting but also much faster.
Last September, Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk has revealed his plans for the future of passenger transport. As you might expect, it involves rockets that will take passengers across the world in no time compared to the time it takes to fly the same distances today. “If we are building this thing to go to the Moon and Mars”, he said, “then why not go to other places on earth as well?” While his plan is ambitious – and seems to be a bit too cheap for the speed it promises – it is, indeed, a great plan that, if pushed through, will turn the world into a much smaller place.
According to the well-known innovator, the new rocket SpaceX plans to introduce in the coming year will have the capability not only to fly people to the Moon and Mars but to take them pretty much anywhere on Earth in 60 minutes tops. He took examples of the route from New York to Paris, a flight that takes over 7 hours today, that will be completed in 30 minutes, and Sydney to Singapore, a trip that takes more than eight hours today, that will only take 31 minutes once his plan is in place. And all this through the use of rockets that will take passengers beyond Earth’s atmosphere.
“The great thing about going to space is there is no friction, so once you are out of the atmosphere, it is smooth as silk — no turbulence, nothing”, he said. “There is no weather, there is no atmosphere and you can get to all, most long-distance places in less than half an hour.” And, as we imagine, the view will be unparalleled.