Monday, July 22, 2019

Turns Out Tunneling Is Hard

Elon probably gets stoned, gets mad about being stuck in traffic, decides he can do tunnels better than anyone, has some Jetsons visions of an underground transportation network, calls his engineers and says "build some tunnels! cheap!" They say, sure, Elon, and go out and buy a used Chinese sewer boring machine, bore one tunnel, for years keep promising that they were going to make their own tunneling machines which would be the very best tunneling machines ever, almost con Chicago (Rahm, of course) into letting them build a dumb project which would be dumb even if it worked, and then... wow tunneling is hard and it turns out some rich weirdo who had never thought about the problem before doesn't actually have the solution.
“I think a tunnelling thing would be pretty exciting,” Musk said later in response to a follow-up question by one of the student team members on site. “Because as I just articulated the primary challenge is how do you tunnel effectively, especially how do you put in the reinforcing segments and get the dirt out effectively – it’s harder than it seems.”
Nobody could have predicted.