The photo shared by Hyperloop One on Monday from inside its testing tube in the Nevada desert seems downright peaceful: an employee reclines on its curved surface, quietly looking at what looks like an iPhone. There’s no hint that a pod will shoot through tubes like this at very, very high speeds in the near future.
Cassandra Mercury, a test and development engineer for Hyperloop One, is the photo’s subject and is “running safety tests to enhance stability on our DevLoop tubes,” says a Hyperloop spokesperson, adding that the photo was shot a few weeks ago at its testing facility in North Las Vegas.
In the background of the picture, just beyond the employee and the car battery powering her Toughbook and a bunch of sensors, is a ladder. Presumably, the ladder helped Mercury climb into this tube:
And here’s the larger version of the image in which you can see Mercury testing the tube:
In May, Hyperloop One held the first public propulsion test — although there was no tube involved. But you can count on there being a tube in the future, when Hyperloop One possibly goes underwater, the company’s CTO, Brogan BamBrogan, told Science Friday.
Over land, according to estimates in Elon Musk’s now-famous white paper on the concept released back in 2013, a hyperloop pod could reach speeds of 750 miles per hour as it zips through the tube. Here’s how Hyperloop One explains the experimental system:
“The system uses electric propulsion to accelerate a passenger or cargo vehicle through a tube in a low pressure environment. The autonomous vehicle levitates slightly above the track and glides at faster-than-airline speeds over long distances.”
However, the oft-repeated stat that it will take passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 35 or so minutes may not matter to the people who want to transport cargo.