There has been a great deal of discussion of whether the future of high tech transportation will be maglevs or hyperloops. Hyperloops can theoretically travel around 600 mph. Maglevs can theoretically travel around 300 mph. However there is a third alternative that is being ignored. Theoretically if you build a vacuum tunnel around a maglev system then you create a vactrain and can achieve theoretical speeds of up to 8,000 mph. Vactrains could more or less ten times faster than hyperloops! China, Japan and Germany have already invested billions of dollars on maglev lines. Can maglev lines be retrofitted to be vactrains? Instead of replacing maglev, a proven technology, with a new technology that is only twice as fast, maglevs can be upgraded and be made 20 times faster! The following points provide a starting point for this discussion.
1) Pipeline Design
If maglev upgrade is the purpose of vactrain design then the pipeline probably needs to be designed to be more modular to fit around an existing maglev.
2) Pipeline Fabrication
China is facing an industrial output surplus. Can any existing factories be modified to make vactrain pipeline instead?
3) Pipelines and Solar Power
China is a major user of fossil fuels. China is also a major manufacturer of solar panels. Can pipeline be fitted with solar power panels in order to cut down on fossil fuel use and also provide a market for Chinese solar panels?
4) Pipelines as National Nervous System
The world faces growing terrorism, more extreme weather and nuclear proliferation. Can the pipeline double as a hardened nervous system of the nation?
5) Pipelines as Robotic Project
The next big space project will be a city on the moon. The next big rail project will be creating pipeline that can link continents via underwater pipeline. Humans are not designed to operate underwater or in a low gravity vacuum. The conquest of inner space via robots can be a precursor of the conquest of outer space with robots. Sooner or later robots will be needed to build in space on any sort of large scale. Building pipeline underwater with robots is a technical challenge that naturally leads to technological advances that prepare China to create megastructures in space.
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