Everyone agrees, the worst part of long-haul travel is the time it takes to get from one place to another.
In Elon Musk’s update of SpaceX’s Mars plans at the International Astronautical Conference on Friday, he unveiled the company’s plans for the BFR — its largest vehicle yet.
While the BFR’s primary goal is to get to Mars and the Moon, Musk explored the possibility of being able to use the vehicle to get around the world really, really fast.
A trip from Hong Kong to Singapore would take 22 minutes, compared to the 4 hours it currently takes on a plane. The time savings, according to SpaceX’s slightly tearjerking video, seem to get exponentially higher the longer you travel.
Bangkok to Dubai would take 27 minutes (currently 6.5 hours on a plane), London to Cape Town takes 34 minutes (otherwise 11.5 hours), or the world’s longest flight at 16.5 hours, Doha to Auckland, reduced to a mere 45 minutes.
“If we’re thinking of building this thing to go to the Moon and Mars, why not to other places on Earth as well?” Musk said.
It’s not the first time an idea like this has been floated: Virgin Galactic have been talking about this for years.
Of course, there’s something to be said about the environmental impact of rockets, if planes weren’t bad enough already. Then the economics of low patronage, high-speed travel, something which became plainly obvious in the case of the now defunct Concorde.
Although on the latter, Musk seems to have it covered: “Cost per seat should be about the same as full fare economy in an aircraft,” he wrote on Instagram.
Breakfast in Sydney, lunch in London, and dinner in Cape Town. Let’s hope the jet lag won’t be too bad.