The New Horizons space probe is the fastest mankind has launched. But just how fast is that?
Recently making headlines as it whipped past Pluto giving us stellar images of the dwarf planet, it’s now hurtling through space at a speed nearing 36,000 miles per hour. But such eye-watering speeds are beyond most of us to picture.
American photographer Clay Bavor put it into visual perspective for us all. By comparing the space probe’s speed with that of of a regular jumbo jet, he gives a sense for what it would feel like to look out of the window of the space probe - or at least, an airplane flying at the same speed.
A Boeing 747 flies at speeds of around 550 miles per hour. Fast though that may be, it’s still glacial compared to New Horizon, which outstrips it by a factor of 65.
Bavor, who also included a comparison with a mach-3 aircraft flying at 2,700 miles per hour, said of his experiment:
To put 36,000 mph in perspective, at that speed, you’d be able to fly from San Francisco to New York in about five minutes. Of course, you’d also be turned into a ball of searing hot plasma.