Melbourne to London in two hours

By | Category: Travel news, Travel rumblings

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Australian scientists have developed a material that could enable us to fly 12,000 miles in two hours.
Because I fly to Australia regularly to see my family, I welcome anything to make this most tedious of journeys faster. Over the last thirty years I have heard all sorts of ideas of how to speed things up. Why should this one work? That’s not to say that I won’t applaud it if it happens but “if” is the operative word.
Scientists from an array of Australian institutions say they have found a way to make tougher ceramics so that they withstand the extreme temperatures that any such plane or rocket would encounter. They claim that the ceramics are stronger than used on NASA’s shuttles and, in initial testing, they have survived for three minutes without any damage. Now far be it for me to sound any doubt or pour cold water on this but personally I would hope that testing will continue until the ceramics can survive two hours. Preferably a bit more otherwise any such flight might make me a bit nervous.
I am not sure that the language used by the scientists helps. Deciding that in this dumbed-down modern media age they need to describe their achievement in language a ten year old might understand, they describe the structure of the ceramics as being like a cake. You add some water and chemicals to the ceramics mixture, bung it in an oven (sorry, furnace) for a while at gas mark X and when it looks nice and brown through the furnace window you take it out. And you’ve got a plane
I for one wish them all the luck in the world in this great Aussie bake-off. But could they solve it a little faster than others have promised in the past. Otherwise I might be too old to enjoy the cake.

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