SpaceX founder Elon Musk presented his vision for getting people to Mars within five years at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide today.
The spaceship, dubbed the BFR, would carry around 100 people into outer space, but at the end of his presentation he floated the idea of using it to fly anywhere around the world in less than 60 minutes.
He painted a picture of people boarding a ship in New York, to head out to a launch pad in the Hudson River, where they took a 12,000 kilometre (7,400 mile) flight from the Big Apple to Shanghai in just 39 minutes.
The most popular long haul flights could be completed in under 30 minutes, Musk said – from Los Angeles to New York in 25 minutes, Melbourne to Singapore or New York to London in 29 minutes or Paris in 30 minutes, Sydney to Cape Town in 35 minutes or all the way to Zurich in 50 minutes.
“If we’re building this thing to go to the Moon and Mars, then why not go to other places on earth as well,” he said.
Musk offered no insight on costs, but the idea would be the most dramatic change to air travel since the supersonic Concord arrived on the scene in the mid 1970s, travelling at twice the speed of sound and cutting the 8-hour flight between Paris and New York to less than 3.5 hours.
He also promised a smooth ride.
“Once you’re out of the atmosphere it will be smooth as silk, no turbulence, nothing,” he said, although with so little time in the air, there won’t be any time to watch a movie or have inflight service.
SpaceX also produced a video on the idea. Here it is: