The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) plans to put the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) to shame with its proposed, significantly larger Future Circular Collider — and Elon Musk wants to help make it a reality. Because, you know, building electric cars, digging massive underground tunnels in the U.S., selling flamethrowers, and landing rockets vertically isn’t enough to fill a full working week.
In a tweet, Musk wrote that: “Director of CERN asked me about Boring Co building the new LHC tunnel when we were at the @royalsociety. Would probably save several billon [sic] Euros.”
As Musk describes it, the idea is that he would use his Boring Company technology to help dig the enormous tunnel for the new Future Circular Collider, intended to be 100 kilometers (62 miles) in length. The budget for the project is an estimated 24 billion euros ($27.2 billion), of which around 5 billion euros ($5.6 billion) will be dedicated to the tunnel-building portion of the initiative. A possible saving of several billion euros would be significant.
Director of CERN asked me about Boring Co building the new LHC tunnel when we were at the @royalsociety. Would probably save several billon Euros.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 21, 2019
Scientists hope that a more powerful collider will help answer questions about the universe that cannot be answered with the current Large Hadron Collider. The Future Circular Collider could be used to explore subjects including dark matter and matter-antimatter interactions: potentially solving some fundamental questions about the early development of our universe.
It might be a while before Musk is called into service to help, however. The plan is for the tunnel to be functioning by 2040, at which point Musk would be 68 years old. Of course, contributing in such a big way to the future of physics wouldn’t be such a bad usage of his early retirement years (if Musk ever plans to retire).
Last month, Musk’s Boring Company showed off its tunnel-making prowess by unveiling a finished stretch of high-speed tunnel in Hawthorne, California. The 1.14-mile demonstration tunnel reportedly cost around $10 million to build. It was used to transport members of the media at speeds of up to 50 mph in a Tesla Model X SUV, modified to fit onto a special track.