Take a two hour nap, and wake up in Sydney.
Soon you may be able to have breakfast in London, and arrive in Sydney in time for a mid-morning flat white break, thanks to developments in hypersonic travel. The futuristic mode of transportation, which makes the much-missed Concorde look like a flying snail, could come as soon as 2018 after a successful test of a new project in the Australian desert, The Telegraph reported.
The project is a joint effort between U.S. and Australian military scientists to develop a so-called ‘scramjet’ engine—a supersonic combustion engine that uses oxygen from the atmosphere for fuel, making it lighter and faster than gas-powered planes. Their latest test showed that the engine was able to travel at the mind-boggling speed of Mach 7.5, which is seven times faster than the speed of sound. (A bit of background: Anything over five times the speed of sound is considered hypersonic travel).
“It is a game-changing technology… and could revolutionize global air travel, providing cost-effective access to space,” Australia’s chief scientist Alex Zelinsky said in a statement.
Hypersonic technology could cut traveling times drastically. The trip from Sydney to London could be done in two hours, while London to New York could take as little as 35 minutes, which less than the time it usually takes to get from JFK Airport to a midtown hotel.
The U.S. and Australian team aren’t the only ones looking into the wonders of hypersonic travel. Earlier this month, NASA announced that it is working on a “low boom” passenger jet, which will be able to travel at supersonic speeds without the noisy sonic boom that marked the departure of the Concorde. Additionally, manufacturer Aerion has partnered with Airbus to create the AS2 that would halve the current New York to London travel time, which is significantly more time in the air than the concept for the Antipode, which could travel from London to New York in just 11 minutes. Meaning travelers could get five times as much reading done while waiting in the security line than they would on the flight.