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New 700-mph hyperloop pod can go from L.A. to San Francisco in 30 minutes

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies recently unveiled the Quintero One, a hyperloop passenger capsule that can travel at a top speed of about 760 mph.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies
  • Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, or HTT, is one of several companies seeking to build the world's first hyperloop.
  • HTT's new passenger pod can carry about 30 to 40 people, and the company plans to test it at a track in France.
  • The CEO hopes to have a full-scale hyperloop up and running in about three years.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, one of several companies racing to build the world's first hyperloop, unveiled a prototype of a full-scale passenger capsule recently in Spain.

Dubbed the Quintero One, the sleek passenger pod measures 105 feet long, weighs about five tons and is capable of carrying between 28 and 40 people at a time. It's been described as an airplane without wings, an apt description considering the pods would levitate above a magnetic track in a tube that's virtually free of friction, a technique called electromagnetic propulsion. This would allow each pod to travel at speeds exceeding 700 mph, fast enough to travel the 380 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles in about 30 minutes.

Artist rendering of a passenger capsule on track.

Image: HTT

HTT CEO Dirk Ahlborn hopes to have a full-scale hyperloop running in a few years.

"In three years, you and me, we can take a hyperloop," he told CNBC, adding that widespread implementation of hyperloop systems could occur within five to 10 years. "It's definitely much sooner than anybody would expect," Ahlborn said.

Based in California, HTT has said it wants to be the first company to build a hyperloop in the U.S. In February, the company published a video teasing the possibility of building a hyperloop that would connect Cleveland to Chicago, though Ohio officials said they'll need to complete a months-long feasibility test before HTT could potentially pursue the plans.

Artist rendering of a hyperloop station.

Image: HTT

HTT plans to test Quintero One at a track in Toulouse, France. The company has already signed agreements with China, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates to build full-scale hyperloops in the coming years.

In addition to HTT, two other companies are vying to build the first full-scale hyperloop in the U.S.: Richard Branson's Virgin Hyperloop One, which he hopes to have ready within three years; and Elon Musk's Boring Company, which recently began building a prototype of a tunnel system that could someday connect residential garages to a hyperloop.

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Scientists see 'rarest event ever recorded' in search for dark matter

The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.

Image source: Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
  • The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
  • The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
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LGBTQ+ community sees spike in first-time depression in wake of coronavirus​

Gender and sexual minority populations are experiencing rising anxiety and depression rates during the pandemic.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Coronavirus
  • Anxiety and depression rates are spiking in the LGBTQ+ community, and especially in individuals who hadn't struggled with those issues in the past.
  • Overall, depression increased by an average PHQ-9 score of 1.21 and anxiety increased by an average GAD-7 score of 3.11.
  • The researchers recommended that health care providers check in with LGBTQ+ patients about stress and screen for mood and anxiety disorders—even among those with no prior history of anxiety or depression.
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The mind-blowing science of black holes

What we know about black holes is both fascinating and scary.

Videos
  • When it comes to black holes, science simultaneously knows so much and so little, which is why they are so fascinating. Focusing on what we do know, this group of astronomers, educators, and physicists share some of the most incredible facts about the powerful and mysterious objects.
  • A black hole is so massive that light (and anything else it swallows) can't escape, says Bill Nye. You can't see a black hole, theoretical physicists Michio Kaku and Christophe Galfard explain, because it is too dark. What you can see, however, is the distortion of light around it caused by its extreme gravity.
  • Explaining one unsettling concept from astrophysics called spaghettification, astronomer Michelle Thaller says that "If you got close to a black hole there would be tides over your body that small that would rip you apart into basically a strand of spaghetti that would fall down the black hole."

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