Are we coming closer to a Futurama-esque tube transport system?, Inc., an open consortium looking to implement "space travel on Earth," has begun selling licenses for its Evacuated Tube Transport (ETT) system, which they claim could take travelers from Washington D.C. to Beijing in just 2 hours, without ever leaving the ground. The company and its advocates say this form of transport is safer, cheaper, greener and much, much faster than planes, trains and cars.

ETT System

The systems works (in theory) by putting capsules in an evacuated tube, which accelerates up to 4,000 mph in roughly 3 minutes using linear electric motors. Friction is almost completely eliminated, as passive superconductors allow the capsule to "float" within the tubes. The energy used to accelerate the capsules is then recaptured as they slow down. Capsules could drastically range in size according to their contents. says that the system could be used for everything from cargo to human transport and could one day be networked like freeways, both above and below ground.

The consortium says that more than 3 dozen licenses to build the system have been purchased in China and 5 dozen have been purchased in 5 additional countries.

[Source: Gizmag]

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