Even with the growth in green energy, nuclear fusion still powers many facets of our lives. But, barring Cyclops in comedy classic The Big Bus, nuclear powered vacationing has thankfully remained a largely untapped corner of the market.
Until now, that is. ‘Science communicator and video producer’ Hashem Al-Ghaili has caused quite an online stir with his video spectacularly showcasing a new Sky Cruise concept first created by Tony Holmston – a flying hotel that can carry more than 5,000 passengers in “the epitome of luxury.”
Thanks to its 20 nuclear powered engines, the ‘Skytanic’ (or ‘Flytanic’ – take your pick as neither inspires much confidence!) doesn’t need to land, instead endlessly cruising above the cloudline offering spectacular sunrises and sunsets, glorious night skies and the promise of the aurora borealis up close and more extraordinary than ever.
Passengers would be ferried up on conventional airliners and private jets that dock with the Sky Hotel and drop them off via an external elevator. Once onboard they would enjoy luxurious living with a 360-degree viewing deck at the tail and a huge concourse with shopping malls, state-of-the-art medical facility and all the usual trappings of a cruise ship at sea in the main body of the ‘plane’.
On the tricky topic of turbulence, the Sky Hotel’s AI system promises to predict in advance and use a technology similar to noise canceling to balance out the bumps so passengers “glide over the vibrations with ease”. Particularly handy if you’re taking a dip in the onboard swimming pool at the time.
In response to his video, Al-Ghaili reiterates it’s just a concept but that he dreams of “a future where such stuff could exist”, going so far as to rebuff detractors with a quote from Albert Einstein, “If at first the idea is not absurd, then there will be no hope for it.”
But he also believe in the science of it: “Small nuclear reactors that can power airplanes are expected to be ready by the 2030s. The UK is working on a Small Modular Nuclear Reactor (SMR) that’s expected to join the grid in 2029, and the US is investing heavily in commercial nuclear fusion research. With just a few tweaks to the design, nuclear fusion and proper aerodynamics, the Sky Cruise could someday take off and carry thousands of passengers above the clouds.”
Reaction has been mixed with some pointing in particular to the cost of such a project, likely to be reflected in ticket prices that make it an elitist opportunity only available to the rich (though they are perhaps getting ahead of themselves here). As one wit put it in the comments, “I’m sure I would be able to afford a ticket for the lowest deck with no leg space and no access to the lounge.”
Although the idea of docking mid-air with a nuclear powered flying hotel may not sound like the most relaxing way to enjoy a vacation, it’s surely nothing compared to the common hell of cramming yourself into a tiny seat space next to a screaming child for ten hours of torture that is commercial flying today!