Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Elisha. Elisha Wonders, “How do hyperloops work?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Elisha!

“Are we there yet?” We’ve all asked at one time or another, and we’ve all heard the same answer: “No.” Whether it’s going to a friend’s house or road tripping across the country, travel takes forever! That may change soon, thanks to a new travel option called Hyperloop.

Have you ever gone down a water slide? Traveling in Hyperloops will be similar, but much faster! People will ride in pods that zip through a metal tube at 700 miles per hour. We’ll travel from Washington, D.C., to New York City in half an hour!

Do Hyperloops sound like science fiction? Many people think so! You’ve probably seen similar ideas in books and TV shows. However, companies are already working to make Hyperloops a reality. Hyperloop One and HyperloopTT both have models they test daily. They’re both far from being ready for human passengers. Still, the companies say we’ll be using Hyperloops within a decade.

How is Hyperloop travel possible? It starts with an airtight tube made of steel and concrete. Inside the tube, passenger pods fly along a track at nearly the speed of sound. This is made possible by linear motors that contain electromagnets. The electromagnets allow each pod to float above the track and move quickly down the tube.

The speed of each pod is helped by vacuum pumps that clear the tube of air. Without air, the pods move with less friction. That way, they move quickly and smoothly through the tube.

Wait, they remove the air? How will passengers breathe? Each pod will be airtight and contain its own air. Traveling by Hyperloop will be a lot like riding in an airplane. Passengers will enter the pod through gull-wing doors on each side. When the pod takes off, the ride will be smooth. With no friction inside the tube, passengers won’t believe they‘re moving at 700 miles per hour.

Speed is just one benefit of Hyperloop travel. Another is less pollution. Designers expect Hyperloop to make almost no pollution. Some plans even include solar panels to create energy. With worries increasing about the effect of travel on the environment, this is a big selling point. If Hyperloops help with the problem, they may become more popular than cars and trucks.

Are you ready for your first Hyperloop trip? You may be waiting a while! Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, shared his idea for the Hyperloop in 2013. However, he didn’t have time to work on it. Since then, other experts have been working to make Hyperloop a reality. It will likely be several years before Hyperloops are ready for passengers.

Where will you go on your first Hyperloop trip? Will you go from New York City to Los Angeles in four hours? For a shorter trip, try Nashville to Orlando in an hour! If we build Hyperloops underwater, you could leave San Francisco and arrive in Honolulu three hours later!   

Standards: ELA.RST.6-8.2, ELA.RST.6-8.10, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.W.1, CCRA.SL.1

Wonder What's Next?

You’ll find plenty of information NESTED in tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day!