Narrator: This is Science Today. While governments are still debating whether or not to move forward with magnetic levitation transportation systems, some of the nation's amusements parks are already using this technology for high-speed rides. Richard Post, a senior scientist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, who developed a model railway using this technology, describes how magnetic levitation works with trains.
Post: They would move above a track which would be composed very simply of shorted coils stacked together making a track and as long at the train's moving above a few miles an hour, the magnetic levitation forces created when the magnets move over the coils and induce currents in the coils and those currents interact back on the magnets and levitate the system.
Narrator: The key to magnetic levitation is maintaining speed.
Post: From a safety standpoint, it's what you call fail-safe or passively stable. So, so long as the train is moving, it's going to levitate and if the power fails to drive the train, it would slow down a very slow speed and settle down onto auxiliary wheels.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.