Humans struggle with running an efficient train timetable on Earth: but a new “space train” could apparently get us to Mars in less than two days.
An inventor from Montreal, Charles Bombardier, has designed the Solar Express train to shuttle passengers and products between planets in our solar system.
The train would travel at roughly 1% the speed of light – 1864 miles per second – and allow people to travel from earth to the red planet in just 48 hours.
As well as ferrying minerals and goods between space stations.
The concept, which is still in its infancy, tries to eliminate the problem of how expensive it is to accelerate and decelerate a vehicle in space.
Currently, the idea of running a train service between planets would just be too costly because of the frequent stops involved.
But the Solar Express is designed to initially take off with rocket boosters and then run non-stop at a cruising speed; slingshotting around celestial bodies to gain speed without needing more fuel.
Smaller vessels with the freight and passengers on board would catch up with the main Solar Express and transfer the cargo across.
And it wouldn’t just be used for travel: Bombardier describes a ‘space city’ that would be built around the central axis with an artificial atmosphere and gravity, so humans could walk and live in there for long months of travelling.
The concept obviously has some issues to overcome before we start buying tickets.
Bombardier said: “Obviously, there is a lot to consider, starting with dimensions, masses, speed, energy, etc. How do you control such a complex vehicle? The Solar Express is a basic idea and we would like to know how we could improve it.”
If they ever work out how to control a vehicle at such speed, then sign us up.