Inside the James Bond-style tsunami escape pod that could save your life
11:43

Inside the James Bond-style tsunami escape pod that could save your life

Science
[MUSIC] All right, I think I'm feeling safe and secure in my jumpsuit so I recommend just about ready for a tsunami. Can we go now? [MUSIC] A mega tsunami happens is by impact, all the coast of Atlantic From the sail to Nova Scotia to England and to Morocco [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO] [MUSIC] On the day after Christmas in 2004, just before 8 o'clock in the morning, An earthquake shook the ocean floor off the coast of Indonesia with the strength of 23,000 Nagasaki bombs. [UNKNOWN] That's a big wave. The force lifted the floor several meters setting off a massive tsunami that would kill close to a quarter of a million people. [MUSIC] Less than seven years later, another magnitude nine earthquake. This one struck off the coast of Japan and caused a tsunami that killed 18,000 people, and led to the meltdown of the Fukushima reactor. We won't be able to stop the next tsunami, but could technology help us survive? [MUSIC] I've travelled to the outskirts of Santa Cruz a few miles from the San Andreas Fault to meer with Steven Ward. He knows about as much as you can know about tsunamis. He spent his research career studying tsunamis and simulating them pixel by pixel on his computer screen. After a few minutes with Ward, one thing was clear, when a massive earthquake hits you do not want to be near the water. Typical wave at the beach might go 10 miles an hour, 15 miles an hour. Tsunami wave in the middle of the ocean goes 500 miles an hour speed to the jet. We all know that earthquakes are caused by the movement of the Earth's tectonic plates. The quakes that cause tsunamis are called subduction earthquakes when one plate slides under another and displaces everything above it. Those subduction zones are near places like the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, Japan and Indonesia. When those plates shift the water above it moves to. And that is when a tsunami causes real devastation. I always like imagine like a giant out in the ocean, he grabs the sea floor and lift the sea floor up and holds it there. And all the waters is slides in for 10 or 15 minutes. And then giant lets go and all slides back out again. So all that motion in and out You're going to drag people and carry them out to sea. The Qaeda survival is getting early warning that an earthquake has hit and that a tsunami could be coming. by tracking seismic waves, seismologists can analyze the earthquakes magnitude and motion to see if it's likely to cause a tsunami.>> I say if it's if it's long and strong Be going. So, if your, start shaking and the minute the stops, you got about 10 minutes to view, all of the signs and, get uphill. I can't make a cup of tea in less than 10 minutes. I need way more time than that. Luckily, scientists like Ward can use computer simulations to predict when, and how tsunamis will hit. But I have bad news for you. Earthquakes aren't the only thing that can cause Tsunamis. >If you have giant collapse of a volcano, you can make a tsunami. 500 feet high. 1000 feet high. >Let's talk mega tsunamis. Woods says there have been dozens of huge landslides off the Hawaiian coast over the last 20 million years big enough to trigger a mega tsunami These are 500 cubic miles is like this county of Santa Cruz, falling into the ocean. And you can imagine if such a thing happens, it's going to push water Thousands of feet high. But what causes the worst mega tsunamis? [MUSIC] Asteroids communit 50 miles per second, and they can be as big as a house or because a couple of acres in grass. They're going to blow a hole in the ocean all the way to the sea floor and 50 miles wide. If a mega tsunami happens it's going to impact all the coasts of the Atlantic, from Brazil to Nova Scotia to England and to Morocco. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] So what do you do when a tsunami hits and there's no escape? Well, I headed out to Seattle's Puget Sound to test one high tech option that might just be crazy enough to work. I had no idea what I was signing up for. Meet the survival capsule. It might look like something from a spy movie, but it's actually meant to protect you, your family, and even your pets from the impact of a tsunami. It's the brainchild of Julian Sharpe, an engineer with almost 30 years of experience in the aerospace industry. Back in 2010, he was on a family vacation at the beach when he started to think about the Indonesian tsunami. I was laying there at nighttime listening to the waves and I was thinking, Well what happens if a tsunami comes in now? That got shot thinking about how to survive something that powerful The answer was an escape pod designed to aerospace standards that could survive a tsunami and all the debris and sharp impacts that come with it consists of a tubular aluminum frame, over which we bring two aluminum hemispheres. And welded all together. We have lexan glass which is super high strength and has thermal resilience. That's Right, it's designed to help the pod absorb impacts from the outside and there's a silver lining on the inside. The same thermal material that was used on the space shuttle to prevent it overheating during re entry. [MUSIC] To see just how much it can handle shopping his team put the capsule through the ultimate drop test. Sending it off the top of the blues falls in Washington. A massive 200 foot drop. While you might not face 200 foot waves in a tsunami, Sharpe wanted to find out whether his creation could survive those extreme forces. [SOUND] [INAUDIBLE] [MUSIC] But waterfall or no waterfall, a controlled test is very different to a real life tsunami. There's no crew in a safety boat to reel you in if you get caught in a natural disaster, which leads me to the question that has been bugging me all morning, how does someone find me again? Am I just stuck bobbing out in the ocean for the rest of my life? We recommend you install a GPS system. So if she wants to go out and see the beacon would go off and everybody didn't know where she was. The capsule can also be tethered to a point on shore so you can be pulled in, nd if all else fails, and there's no coast guard to rescue you, or no-one to reel you in, there's one other option. If you have to, if you can't open the door, you can pull the pins and the door will drop down and you can scramble out. It's very, very simple, it doesn't require any high technology. And I guess the last question, How much one of these gonna cost me? Well, right now, if you order one from me, this one will cost $15,000 to build. All right, well, I think all that's left for me to do is to try it out. Yeah, very good [MUSIC] I've got my walkie talkie. I've got my fellow passenger which is a bag of ballast, and I'm in my jump seat nice and secure. I feel like I'm ready to face this today. Tsunami. Let's see how I go. As they load the capsule into the water, I started to have massive second thoughts about volunteering for this. [SOUND] I had nightmares about being left in the middle of the ocean. And even though I've taken enough seasickness medication to knock out an elephant, I wasn't sure if I was gonna survive the waves, but we just had to put it to the test. Bring it on over. [SOUND] [MUSIC] [SOUND] And while I sat inside my own personal nightmare, the rest of our crew sat on a boat doing donuts around me in the harbor. [MUSIC] Okay. [LAUGH] Woo! [LAUGH] Gosh. Now don't get me wrong, these waves aren't anything like what I'd expect in a real tsunami, but still, I was getting knocked around a lot inside that little orange ball. I started to get a real sense of what it might be like to be at the mercy of the ocean. [MUSIC] I think I'm okay. I made it [MUSIC] The survival capsule team has built this two person prototype which they say is close to going into production. And Shopify says it could be a life saving option for people in remote areas, people who can't get to an evacuation point, or those who might not have the time. And sure I didn't experience the real deal, surviving a magnitude nine earthquake packing up all my supplies and getting to my capsule in less than 10 minutes. Not to mention the full size waves that come with a tsunami. A $15,000 tsunami escape capsule might not be the solution for everyone. But still, being inside here felt a lot safer than being in the middle of the ocean without any protection. When a world shaking tsunami eventually does hit, it probably won't feel like a Disneyland ride. But with a bit of advanced engineering, we might just have a solution to get us out alive. [SOUND] Gosh. I felt lost. Erica. I'm ready for so much joy. You can give me all your God over [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO]

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