Shanghai to San Francisco is a trek that takes nearly 12 hours by plane. Imagine that transatlantic trip taking just two hours.
The feat could be achieved with a new supersonic submarine, but this one doesn’t look like your typical sub.
It more closely resembles a torpedo; its unusual shape helps it move quickly moving through the water, potentially reaching speeds of up to 3,600 miles per hour.
The new technology uses a technology called supercavitation, meaning a submerged object essentially moves in an air bubble, greatly reducing water drag.
That air bubble is key to helping the craft move at such high speeds, but a steering issue came up during testing: It’s nearly impossible to use conventional ways of steering, such as a rudder, when the vessel isn’t touching the surrounding water.
Researchers found a way to fix the problem, according to the South China Morning Post, by constantly showering a special liquid membrane on the sub’s surface. The concept for this supersonic sub was first used by the Soviet Union to create torpedoes.
So far, researchers in China have only tested unmanned crafts, but say they hope for the science to be used in the military, for civilian travel and to help with water sports.