#Train #Space – A Train Into Space? Startram Project Could Make Colonizing Mars Easier : There has been a lot of talk recently about reusable rockets and asteroid mining making space travel cheaper, but a proposed idea for a maglev train into space might be the real answer.
Using existing maglev technology, the Startram project proposes to launch people and cargo down a 1,000-mile long tunnel 12 miles high at 20,000 mph using a superconducting cable.
The idea sounds far-fetched, but it’s being pitched by some really smart people. Dr. James Powell co-invented superconducting maglev trains and Dr. George Maise is an aerospace engineer; they believe the train into space is the answer that could make interplanetary travel possible.
Launching humans and cargo into space is very expensive. Every pound boosted into orbit costs thousands of dollars and that cost factor is stopping humanity from colonizing Mars, mining asteroids, and establishing a lunar colony, according to the Startram website.
“We can’t do these wonderful things as long as we are constrained by rocket launch into space. We cannot launch the massive amounts of spacecraft and payloads that are required, it is just too expensive.”
The science behind the space train is rather complicated, but the idea is pretty simple. Maglev trains hover above their tracks and don’t have to worry about friction so they’re theoretically capable of reaching 20,000 mph. Put one in a 1,000-mile long vacuum tube and it’s possible to protect the humans and cargo aboard from being ripped to shreds.
Most of the track would run along level ground, but the exit point would need to be 12 miles high in order to reach space so engineers could use a superconducting cable to levitate that end of the track.