Shanghai to San Francisco in two hours flat? It’s possible, according to the Harbin Institute of Technology, which is developing a supersonic submarine capable of traveling at a blistering 3600 mph. Using developments in supercavitation technology, the institute has made it possible for submarines (or torpedoes) to travel faster than the speed of sound.

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Water creates friction that airplanes don’t have to deal with, so water vehicles haven’t been able to move as quickly as aircraft. But during the Cold War, the Soviet Union developed a technology that envelopes a submarine in an air bubble to help prevent friction. But until now, limitations have prevented the technology from being used for anything except unmanned vehicles like torpedoes.

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Chinese scientists have figured out a way around these limitations, and though the technology isn’t quite ready to go yet, it could mean insanely fast travel sometime in the future. It could also mean good news for swimmers, because the same technology could theoretically be used to reduce drag from swimsuits. On the other hand, it could also mean that underwater missiles could be a whole heck of a lot faster, too.

Via Gizmodo and SCMP

Lead image via Shutterstock, image via Hindawi