Stay on target Elon Musk’s Cheeky ‘Nuke Mars!’ Post Is Taking Over TwitterTesla EV Catches Fire After Colliding With Tow Truck in Moscow Everyone’s favorite eccentric billionaire is at it again. Elon Musk just tweeted that he had initial approval to construct a Hyperloop route connecting New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington DC. Total travel time from NYC to DC could be as little as 29 minutes, Musk claims.Musk’s idea for a Hyperloop is essentially a specialized high-speed train. There are a few different design variants, but all of them are based on what amounts to an insanely fast subway with speeds upwards of 750 mph. To get the train up that high, the Hyperloop system is designed to seal a tunnel and pressurize the passenger/cargo capsules (y’know so that they can breathe). Then, without air resistance, the train can use magnets to accelerate riders well beyond the usual speed of sound.Just received verbal govt approval for The Boring Company to build an underground NY-Phil-Balt-DC Hyperloop. NY-DC in 29 mins.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 20, 2017The whole system is loosely based on the vactrain, an early sci-fi concept that posted trains that could travel over 5,000 mph. Obviously, that’s well beyond what anyone today could pull off, but Musk clearly believes that the core idea has at least some merit.But, like the Hyperloop itself, the idea of building a super-fast rail linking America’s Northeastern Megalopolis (the megacity that stretches from Boston down to Washington DC) isn’t new. Visionary engineer Robert Salter proposed the idea back in the 1970s, though without the maglev bits. Salter had managed to get partway through talks with some organizations, but estimates placed the cost of the proposed rail line at well above $1 trillion. That would have made it one of the most expensive projects in history.City center to city center in each case, with up to a dozen or more entry/exit elevators in each city— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 20, 2017Those challenges haven’t totally gone away. Our tech is far better, and Musk’s new Boring Company (which literally just bores tunnels using giant machines) has systems that Salter couldn’t even dream of. But real-estate in the area is still phenomenally expensive (New York City is well-known for having some of the priciest land in the world). Construction of the 200-mile tunnel will take quite some time, almost 7,000 hours of continuous operation, in fact, given the rate of many modern tunnel boring machines (about .03 mph, according to the Boring Company’s site). Plus, right now tunnels, even with the best machines, can take $1 billion per mile to construct. Musk hopes to bring this cost down by a factor of ten.All of this is still pretty up in the air. Musk hasn’t broken ground; no paperwork has been signed that we know of, etc. Still, this is exciting stuff. Yeah, there are many, many valid criticisms of the Hyperloop and the underlying tech, and its costs, but I want to live in an optimistic world where we have awesome stuff like a train that can cross 200 miles in 29 minutes with stops. But that’s just me.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.