Science News

Are Underground Tunnels Safe ?

Sat, 6th Apr 2002

Part of the show Forensic Archaeology - Dr. Corinne Duhig

In ten years time you will be able to take high speed trains through the Alps! This year, work will start on a tunnel almost 60 kilometres long and over 2 kilometres below ground. It will be the longest underground tunnel in the world and will cut journey time between Zurich and Milan by 1 and a half hours. That's all well and good, but at what cost? According to New Scientist this week this tunnel could be deadly. Because of heat coming up from the Earth's depths, the temperature in the tunnel will be almost 50 degrees centigrade - that's hotter than the sahara desert in the summertime! So if a fire started it would spread rapidly, trapping passengers in an underground furnace…
A couple of months ago we reported that the Chinese were planning to send men into space in a few years time. Operations are now well underway - last week they sent a dummy into space equipped with sensors to study the stresses that real astronauts will experience. According to media reports, they will have their first space crew by 2003 and are even planning to send men to the moon. Until now only the United States and the former Soviet Union have succeeded in doing this.


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