Hyperloop One Photo Shows What Testing Looks Like Inside the Tube

It's the calm before the whoosh.

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.

Media via Getty Images / David Becker