Up until midcentury, the fastest thing in the world, apart from light, was sound. Travelling at 343 meters per second (1230 kph or 767 mph), sound was faster than even the most devastating craft of war.
But then, in 1947, Air Force Captain Charles “Chuck” Yeager broke the sound barrier in Glamorous Glennis, his Bell X-1 aircraft. It was such an accomplishment at the time that he and the team he worked with were honored at the White House by Commander in Chief Harry S. Truman.
The next year, in 1948, a Northrop unmanned rocket sled became the first land vehicle to achieve supersonic speed, reaching 1,020 mph before careening off the rails. “She jumps the tracks! Rocket on a rampage!” The news announcer chirped on a broadcast announcing the news.
Then, in 2010, Felix Baumgartner became the first human projectile to break the sound barrier when he successfully completed a Red Bull sponsored free fall from the edge of the atmosphere down to the New Mexican desert.
In short, humans like speed. We like extremes. We like telling Mother Nature that, with labs, we can supersede her. So, with that said, hunker down and get ready to find out the 10 fastest things in the world.
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10 The Fastest Production Car
The unofficial fastest road car in the world is the Hennessey Venom GT, which reached 270.49 miles per hour in 2014. By doing that, it beat out previous winner Bugatti Veyron Supersport and is now the fastest road car in the world. However, the score wasn’t recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records, because it requires a run in two directions, which the car was unable to complete on its track, the NASA Space Shuttle landing runway. So for the time being, the fastest car according the industry standard is the Bugatti Veyron SuperSport, which goes from 0 to 60 in just 2.4 seconds.
9 The Fastest Non-Production Car
The Thrust SSC, also known as the Thrust Supersonic, is the fastest non-production car ever made. It’s a British jet-propelled vehicle, which became the first car to break the sound barrier, driven to 763 miles per hour in 1997 by Royal Airforce Pilot Andy Grain in the Black Rock Desert, in Nevada. The car is powered by two after-burning RR Space Turbo fan engines, and has a net thrust of 223 KN as well as a power output of 1110 horsepower that gobbles up 18 litres of gas per second. It’s 16.5 meters long, 3.7 meters wide, and weights 10.5 tonnes.
8 The Fastest Man
An eight-time world champion of sprinting, Usain Bolt has been named the fastest man alive (born in Jamaica, in 1986, he is currently 29 years old.) He is the first man to hold both the 100 meter and 200 meter world records and he is also the first man to have six Olympic gold medals in sprinting. Although his actual name implies speed enough as it is (yes, his actual name is Bolt), he has been nicknamed “Lightening Bolt” to further enhance the imagery of high speed. He is the highest-paid track and field athlete of all time.
7 The Fastest Computer
Does it come as any kind of surprise that the fastest computer in the world, called the Tianhe-2, would come from China? The orient is a mysterious locale of technological supremacy. This particular computer can run 33.86 quadrillion floating point operations in 1 second. That’s 4000 times better than Apple’s most powerful Mac. It’s located in China’s National University of Defense Technology. It runs on a form of Linux that was specifically designed for it by that institution and costs more or less $390 million.
6 The Fastest Ambulance
The world’s fastest ambulance, the Lotus Evora, was premiered at Gitex in Dubai’s World Trade Center. This emergency vehicle is absolutely one of a kind, being made out of a $150,000 car. At that price, it can reach 185 miles per hour, which is tempered a little by the fact that it’s only a two-seater, but in matters of life and death, every second counts. The ambulance is outfitted with a control box, a siren, flashing lights, and a hard-screen notebook that allows the paramedics to send information about the passenger to the hospital they’re travelling towards.
5 The Fastest Rapper
NoClue, born Ricky Raphael Brown, is an American rapper from California. He has two EPs, a mixtape, and the honor of being the fastest rapper ever recorded (to be honest, we thought it would be Twista or Busta, too.) In 2005, before a licensed speech therapist, NoClue attempted to snag the record. He managed to spit 723 syllables in 51.27 seconds, which amounts to more or less 14.1 syllables per second. We found a little video of NoClue rapping on YouTube. It’s too fast to be made out, but it sounds a lot like something on fast-forward, meaning he’s not saying nonsense.
4 The Fastest Water Slide
Insano in Brazil is the fastest waterslide in the world. How is it so impossibly quick? Well, it’s 41 meters high, or roughly the height of a 14 storey building, and also it’s so steep that the majority of the ride, the park-goers spend in mid-air, only landing in cushy water at the end. It’s essentially a 5 second, 65 mile per hour free fall. If you thought the Superman was scary, try going almost exactly as fast as it, except for without anything at all to hold you in place.
3 The Fastest Plane
The fastest plane on earth (the fastest plane off earth?) is the SR-71 Blackbird. Although it’s almost more than a century old, it remains the fastest vessel in flight. No plane has beaten it since, in speed. It can thank its engine nacelle for its haste. It has bypass tubes that only activate after it reaches mach 2.2, which funnel air into the afterburner and make the plane a paragon of fuel and energy efficiency, even this late in the game. The piece of equipment is, none-too-surprisingly, an American creation, which was retired from the USAF in ‘98 and from NASA in ’99.
2 The Fastest Rollercoaster
The fastest rollercoaster in the world is called the Formula Rossa and is located at Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi. This rollercoaster is launched, meaning that it used hydraulic pressure to propel it to its top speed (150 mph, by the way, which it reaches in approximately 5 seconds.) Because of its extreme speed, the track is also very long (or else the ride wouldn’t last any time at all), coming in at 2.2 km, or the world’s 6th longest. It goes so fast that the people who ride it need to wear protective goggles, lest they come into contact with an insect-turned-diamond by speed.
1 Fastest Land Animal
Although a cheetah has spots, it typically just becomes a black-and-beige blur as it skitters through the air at speeds up to 75 miles per hour. That’s right: the cheetah can run as fast as a greyhound… bus. Its acceleration can get up to 62 mph in the first 3 seconds of its sprint, which is faster than most cars. To think that a gazelle, although quick, can only run at about 50 mph tops, it’s a wonder that there are any of them left since they are one of the cheetah’s main sources of tasty, rare meat.
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So light is the fastest thing. Nothing can go faster than that. It's kind of like the speed limit of the universe.What is the 2 fastest thing in the world? ›
A somewhat surprising second-place contender for fastest? The pronghorn antelope, which can rival cheetahs with a speed of 53 mph (85 kph) [source: National Geographic]. So there you go: the speediest animals on the planet.How fast is the fastest thing in the world? ›
It is light however, at approximately 670 million mph, which takes first place as the fastest thing in the world. Responsible for our sense of sight, light allows us to fully appreciate the world around us – whether we are experiencing life at super speeds or not.What's the fastest thing on land? ›
The fastest land animal is the cheetah. The peregrine falcon is the fastest bird, and the fastest member of the animal kingdom, with a diving speed of 389 km/h (242 mph).Is dark faster than light? ›
Darkness travels at the speed of light. More accurately, darkness does not exist by itself as a unique physical entity, but is simply the absence of light. Any time you block out most of the light – for instance, by cupping your hands together – you get darkness.Which thing is faster than light? ›
Could we ever detect them? Aside from the fact that like other particles, they are likely incomprehensibly tiny, because tachyons always travel faster than light it isn't possible to detect one on its approach. That's because it's moving faster than any associated photons.Is sound faster than light? ›
Compared with light, which moves at a stunning 186,000 miles per second (300,000 kilometers per second), sound waves are downright sluggish, moving through air at 0.2 miles per second (0.3 km per second). That's why you see lightning before you hear the thunder.What travels fast? ›
The speed of light as it travels through air and space is much faster than that of sound; it travels at 300 million meters per second or 273,400 miles per hour. Visible light can also travel through other things besides through air and through space.Why is light so fast? ›
That's because all massless particles are able to travel at this speed, and since light is massless, it can travel at that speed.Is light the fastest thing? ›
Nothing can travel faster than 300,000 kilometers per second (186,000 miles per second). Only massless particles, including photons, which make up light, can travel at that speed. It's impossible to accelerate any material object up to the speed of light because it would take an infinite amount of energy to do so.
The fastest production car in the world in terms of projected figures (before an official run has been made) is the Koenigsegg Jesko Absolut, with a calculated top speed target of over 310mph.What is the fastest fish? ›
Most sources believe that the fastest species of fish is the Indo-Pacific Sailfish, Istiophorus platypterus. According to Johnson and Gill (see below) the species has been clocked in excess of 110 km/h (68 mph) over short periods.What is fastest water animal? ›
Perhaps you know that the fastest animal in the sea, the sailfish, cruises through the water at 68 mph. In the sky, the peregrine falcon reigns supreme.How fast is a black hole? ›
But black holes aren't just extremely massive, they're also incredibly fast rotators. Many black holes, from their measured spins, are spinning at more than 90% the speed of light.Is light faster than Sonic? ›
Despite his small appearance, Sonic the Hedgehog has a max speed of 186,000 miles per second and travels at a speed of 767 miles per hour. His light-speed shoes allow him to run faster than the speed of light and fight the evil genius who wants to use him in an experiment.What is light made of? ›
Light is made of particles called photons, bundles of the electromagnetic field that carry a specific amount of energy. With sufficiently sensitive experiments, you can count photons or even perform measurements on a single one. Researchers have even frozen light temporarily.Why can't light go faster? ›
According to the laws of physics, as we approach light speed, we have to provide more and more energy to make an object move. In order to reach the speed of light, you'd need an infinite amount of energy, and that's impossible!How fast does sound travel? ›
Sound can travel in air at approximately 332 metres per second. This is fast but not nearly as fast as light which travels at 300 000 kilometres per second. This difference in speeds enables us to appreciate that sound does take time to travel.What is time speed? ›
There is no speed of time, because time doesn't move. The term 'time' describes our motion through the temporal dimension. So you can ask "what is my time speed?" (temporal velocity) but the question "what is the speed of time?" is illogical.