Free-Fall Spinning-Planet Tunnel Transportation Network

April 11, 2021   /  

Name: Yuchen Gan
Major: Physics
Advisors: Dr. John Lindner, Dr. Niklas Manz

Transportation is a very general and important thing. We have airplanes and trains for long distance traveling now. It would be really interesting to have a new transportation tool which is much faster than these transportation tools. Free-fall tunnel transportation network is such a tool. If Earth is not rotating, it takes only 42 minutes for any object to travel from one side of Earth to the other side in an evacuated tunnel powered by gravity alone. We do not need to do anything except to put the object or yourself at the entrance of the tunnel. This research studies this new transportation system in a spinning Earth in detail. It shows that curved periodic free-fall tunnels can connect multiple points on the surface of a planet at any latitude. Theory and computation will help to elucidate the tunnel system in both inertial reference frame and rotating reference frame.

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Yuchen will be online to field comments on April 16:
8-10am EDT (Asia: evening, Africa/Europe: afternoon)

4 thoughts on “Free-Fall Spinning-Planet Tunnel Transportation Network”

  1. Existence of periodic free-fall tunnels that reach any planetary latitude for specific spins and masses is wonderful, but would Earth’s spin need to be changed to accommodate them?

  2. I absolutely love how the spiky curved free-fall in the rotation frame corresponds to the smooth harmonic-oscillator ellipse in the inertial reference frame — what a great perspective change!

  3. Interesting work Yuchen! What do the different colors mean for the tunnel paths?

  4. It is very interesting to think about the possibilities for future travel. Am I understanding correctly that these would be transportation tunnels through the center of the Earth?

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