There’s a tragic irony to the fact that while soccer (read: football) teams were competing over the 2018 World Cup in Russia, a Thai boys’ soccer team is fighting for their very lives. But as traditional and straightforward methods prove inadequate to rescue the children and their coach, Elon Musk is turning to technology to design a kid-size submarine that will help save the boys. Unsurprisingly, he’s borrowing a few things from SpaceX.
It is almost as if the Earth was conspiring against the soccer team. In addition to the almost impassable tunnels the boys have to go through, the deteriorating weather conditions make it a race against time as well. And where natural human capabilities and current equipment fail, space-grade technology will. Or at least that’s the underlying presumption behind Musk’s promise.
Known for his ambition and sometimes crazy ideas, Musk promised to develop a submarine to aid in rescuing the boys. It uses the liquid oxygen transfer tube used on the Falcon rocket itself. That means it’ll be durable enough to withstand accidental bumps and scrapes while carrying the submarine along the submerged passages.
Despite being called a submarine, it’s really more like an escape pod that will have toe carried by rescuers. It’s advertised to be light enough for 2 divers to lead through the very narrow tunnels, which are as much a danger to the divers themselves.
As of this writing, four of the boys have already been rescued but operations have been put on hold to restock on supplies. But while that does give Musk and his team a bit more time to finalize the rescue submarine and quickly bring it to Thailand, time and the weather are not on anyone’s side at the moment.