Matt HealeyTuesday,20 August 2013

The Snap:

Elon Musk is a very smart man. In case you do not know him, he is the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. Recently, he unveiled designs for the Hyperloop. There are some real questions about the viability of the project.

The Download:

And then there are the dumb questions. The dumbest that was repeated often was “Wouldn’t the people inside the capsule traveling through the tube at hundreds of miles an hour get crushed by high G-forces?” Without getting overly technical, the answer is “No and stop being a moron”. Let’s go back to high school physics. You remember that class that you had to take, right? One of the first and most important equations you learn is F=MA where F is force, M is mass and A is acceleration. I think that most people could understand that G-forces are some kind of force and most people outside of the south could understand that mass is related to weight. So that leads the last term — acceleration. The amount of force your body will feel is related to the acceleration of the car in the tube — not it’s final speed. So as long as it does not accelerate too quickly then it is irrelevant how fast you are traveling.

That is the mildly technical answer. Here is the less technical answer. An A380 travels at 560 MPH. According to the preliminary plans, the Hyperloop would travel around 700 MPH. That is not a significant increase in speed. So before people start asking dumb questions, you would think that they would be able to think about the question just a little bit. The initial reporting compared the Hyperloop to a plane. How many people have been crushed by the G-Force in an A380? My count is 0 under normal operating conditions. Now when the plane hits the earth at that speed and you decelerate from 560 MPH to 0 in a really short time, then you might get crushed by G-Forces. Or incinerated by the fireball from the jet fuel exploding.

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Hat Tips:

CNBC, WikipediaImage Credit: Flickr

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