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 Index du Forum » Aux portes de la ville » L'Antichambre
The Gravity Express
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MessagePosté le: Dim 15 Sep 2019, 14:38    Sujet du message:  The Gravity Express   Marque ce message et les suivants dans ce sujet comme non lus 

About four hundred years ago—sometime in the latter half of the 17th century—Isaac Newton received a letter from the brilliant British scientist and inventor Robert Hooke. In this letter, Hooke outlined the mathematics governing how objects might fall if dropped through hypothetical tunnels drilled through the Earth at varying angles. Though it seems that Hooke was mostly interested in the physics of the thought experiment, an improbable yet intriguing idea fell out of the data: a dizzyingly fast transportation system.

Hooke’s calculations showed that if the technology could be developed to bore such holes through the Earth, a vehicle with sufficiently reduced friction could use such a tunnel to travel to another point anywhere on the on Earth within three quarters of an hour, regardless of distance. Even more amazingly, the vehicle would require negligible fuel. The concept is known as the Gravity Train, and though it seems inconceivably difficult to construct, it has received some serious scientific attention and research in the intervening centuries.

The basic concept behind the gravity train is straightforward: At each end of the tunnel, an observer looking into the hole would see a downhill slope. If a train at one end of the tunnel were to release its brakes, the force of gravity would immediately pull the train downhill and cause the train to accelerate much like a roller coaster. Steeper slopes would result in more speed, with the highest acceleration occurring in the straight-down tunnels which cross the Earth’s center. The train would continue to accelerate until reaching the halfway point, at which time its inertia would be at odds with gravity and it would begin to decelerate. As Hooke’s data indicates, if the train operated in a frictionless environment it would reach the surface on the opposite end of the tunnel at the exact moment that its speed reached zero. Naturally, a gravity train operating in a real-world environment would need to bring along enough horsepower to make up the friction loss.

One interesting property of the Gravity Express is that its transit time would always be very, very close to forty-two minutes regardless of the distance travelled. In fact, if the Earth were a perfect sphere, the trip time would always be exactly forty-two minutes and twelve seconds. Greater distances would be traversed in the same amount of time as short ones because the train’s maximum speed would be increased enough to exactly make up the difference. Due to nature of gravity, this forty-two minute trip time would be consistent for any size of vehicle.
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