An inventor has revealed his plans for a space train that could transport humans and cargo between planets in our solar system. The so-called Solar Express, designed by Montreal-based scientist Charles Bombardier, is made up of 164 foot-long cylinders that would never stop and instead space wagons would rendezvous with it. According to Bombardier, his special train will travel at 1 percent of the speed of light — 1,864 miles per second — and could reach the Red Planet in just 48 hours. Bombardier explains how his idea could kick start the discussion about the future of solar system exploration.

How did you come up with the Solar Express concept?

I think we can start thinking about how we will travel in the solar system in the future and the Solar Express concept was created to kick start this discussion.

What’s the main point of it?

In space, the most expensive portions of travel are the acceleration and deceleration phases. The energy required for those portions is tremendous, especially for something as heavy as a space train. In addition, if you were to start hauling cargo, it would become very expensive. However, once the train reaches its cruising speed, its energy consumption would be minimal. That’s the idea behind the Solar Express concept. 

How expensive it is to accelerate and decelerate a vehicle in space?

It depends on hundreds of factors and variables but it is really expensive if you think of it like a business plan. The real question you need to ask yourself is: “Are humans ready to put real resources into establishing bases on the Moon, Mars and in space?”

-Dmitry Belyaev