Nearly three years ago, technology billionaire Elon Musk proposed a radical idea: Why not create a transportation system that involved putting people-filled pods in low-pressure tubes, then zipping those pods along with fans or magnets at speeds topping 700 miles per hour?
Preoccupied with other radical ideas involving space rockets, electric cars and solar power, Musk released his early thoughts to the public. He was effectively challenging the world to build the seemingly outlandish system, called the Hyperloop. And it’s working.
The Hyperloop took its biggest-yet step towards reality Wednesday when Hyperloop One, one of two leading companies working on the concept, successfully and publicly tested its propulsion system in the Nevada desert, accelerating a sled from zero to 105 miles per hour in slightly over a second. The vessel, built without brakes, unceremoniously ended its brief 400-foot journey in a pile of sand.