These transportation concepts are not governed by the laws of sanity.
Low pressure tubes, with pressurized train-like cars that float on a bed of air and are propelled by linear electric motors.
Who knows if we’ll ever see something like this, as there are many huge challenges with its construction, but SF to LA in a half hour at 700 MPH sounds pretty damn great.
9.) Pneumatic Subway
Imagine a pneumatic tube like the ones to deliver mail, but designed to shuttle people. Alfred Ely Beach funded the construction of one in Manhattan all the way back in 1870, and it worked!
Well, it worked but it was only a block long, and Beach had a lot of trouble actually building a full scale system, finally being killed by a stock market crash in 1873.
Suggested By: DennyCraneDennyCraneDennyCrane, Photo Credit: Scientific American
8.) Airport With Rooftop Runway In Manhattan
Airports are big. Manhattan is small. The obvious solution is just to build an airport with a runway on the roof that spans from 24th to 71st street over the West Side Highway.
Wait, did I say obvious? I meant absolutely batshit insane. It was estimated to cost $3 billion in 1946. That’s $36 billion in today’s money!
7.) Nuclear-Powered Flight
Nuclear-powered planes didn’t pan out because they were incredibly expensive, ICBMs came on the scene, and of course nuclear radiation but of course that didn’t stop the U.S. and Russia from trying!
The U.S. had a couple of Convair NB-36Hs that were indeed powered by nuclear reactors and the XB-70, and Russia had the TU-119 that carried a reactor but wasn’t powered by it. Cold War!
Suggested By: tapzz, Photo Credit: USAF
6.) Project Habakkuk
This was an idea from English inventor Geoffrey Pyke for an aircraft carrier made out of pykrete for the British to use in WWII. What’s pykrete, you ask? A mixture of ice and wood pulp.
Yes, this was a proposal for an actual aircraft carrier made with actual ice. Pykrete was supposedly bulletproof, and didn’t melt as quickly as ice. But still, ice boat.
5.) Aircraft Carriers In The Sky
This past November DARPA put out call for ideas on making aircraft carriers in the sky. You know, like the boats except they’re already flying.
Good luck with that one!
4.) Project Orion
The idea was to detonate a series of atomic bombs under the spacecraft to propel it upwards. Manned space flight in general is pretty damn insane, but could you imagine if Project Orion came to fruition?
So to reiterate, some crazy people wanted to blow up a bunch of atomic bombs to send a pod into space. This was a thing people actually tried to do.
Suggested By: Richard Bartrop, Photo Credit: NASA
3.) Space Elevator
The Space Elevator is exactly what you think it is. I’ll let our friends at i09 explain more elegantly:
“A space elevator would consist of a 22,000 mile (35,400 km) cable extending from the surface of Earth to geosynchronous orbit. Once anchored and counterbalanced, laser-powered climbers would ascend the cable, bringing their precious cargo into space.”
An amazing idea, but don’t hold your breath for it.
Hyperloop is crazy, but it’s nothing compared to the transatlantic Vactrain proposals in the 1960s. The proposal was for a vacuum tube between New York and London with maglev trains inside that could theoretically hit 5,000 mph. That’s not a typo.
You could theoretically get from NYC to London in an hour, but the engineering challenges to build a train like this would be insurmountable. Maybe Hyperloop can sort of live up to this promise.
So imagine an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, except instead of being filled with explosives, it’s filled with 1,200 US soldiers. Sounds crazy, huh?
That’s exactly what the Ithacus was. It was a concept for an Intercontinental Ballistic Troop Transport that would launch 1,200 soldiers into space then down to wherever they needed to be in an hour.
Redefines your idea of crazy.
Welcome back to Answers of the Day - our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day’s Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It’s by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
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