The Fastest Speed Ever Reached by a Manmade Object?

 
In case you ever wondered what the worlds fastest boat was…well, on October 8th, 1978, the jet powered Spirit of Australia reached 317.596 mph on the Tumut River.  This aquatic feat was made possible by adding a Westinghouse J34 jet engine to the rear of the racing boat.
 
On land, the worlds fastest land vehicle is none other than the Thrust SSC which holds the world land speed record, set on 15th of October 1997, when it achieved a speed of 763 mph, and became the first land vehicle to officially break the sound barrier.
The worlds fastest aircraft is the air breathing Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird long-range, high-altitude, Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft, that was operated by the United States Air Force. It was developed as a black project reconnaissance aircraft by Lockheed and its Skunk Works division. Faster than a rifle bullet, the SR-71 broke the world aircraft speed record when she reached over Mach 3.3 or 3,529kph(2,193 miles per hour) on July 28th 1976. Her true top speed remains classified. We could tell you, but then we would have to kill you.
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The worlds fastest rocket powered aircraft was the hypersonic North American X-15, operated by the United States Air Force and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The X-15's official world record for the highest speed ever recorded by a manned, powered aircraft, was set on October 1967, when William J. Knight flew at Mach 6.70 at 102,100 feet, at a speed of 4,520 miles per hour.
 
During liftoff, the shuttle weighs more than 4.5 million pounds. At this weight, the shuttle slowly accelerates over period of eight seconds, with the assistance of both the engines, and boosters to a speed of 100 mph. 52 seconds later, the shuttle is traveling more than 1,000 mph, and has already consumed more than one and a half million pounds of fuel. At the two minute mark, the shuttle is approximately 28 miles downrange, and traveling more than 3,000 mph, the propellant in the two boosters is exhausted and the booster casings are then jettisoned. Once orbit is achieved, the Shuttle reaches 17,180 mph, roughly equivalent to Mach 23 at sea level.
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During the fourth crewed mission in the Apollo program, and the second to orbit the Moon. Apollo 10 was the "dress rehearsal" for the first Moon landing.  Its purpose was testing all components and procedures just short of actual landing. The Apollo Lunar Module (LM) was flown to a descent orbit within 8.4 nautical miles of the lunar surface, then firing her rocket to return to lunar orbit. On the way back to Earth, the crew of Apollo 10 in the Command Service Module named Charlie Brown, reached a top speed of 24,791 miles per hour, or 11.8 kilometres per second, on the 26th of May, 1969. This was the highest speed ever reached by a manned vehicle.
Voyager 1 is a space probe launched by NASA on September 5th, 1977, to study the outer Solar System. Having operated for 42 years, 2 months and 22 days, the spacecraft still communicates with the Deep Space Network, and is currently at a distance of 147.380 AU (13.7 billion mi) from Earth as of November 4, 2019. Not only one of the fastest manmade object, now travelling at over 38 thousand miles per hour, it is also the most distant man-made object from Earth.
SO what was the fastest manmade object in human history?
 
Well, it wasn’t what you think…
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It was a manhole cover.
In 1957, Operation Plumbbob was conducted to study the effects of nuclear explosions at the Nevada Test Site next door to Area 51. The operation consisted of 29 separate detonations under the watch of twenty one laboratories and government agencies who where involved in the project studies. The tests were meant to observe the effects of assorted yields in intercontinental and intermediate range missiles. These tests included placing a nuclear bomb in towers, as well as holes to measure the effects on civil and military structures, radiation and bio-medical studies.
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On July 26, 1957, at 22:35:00, at Area U3da, Pascal-A, was detonated in a manmade shaft dug into the desert floor, becoming the first underground shaft nuclear test. The knowledge gained here would provide data to prevent nuclear yields in case of accidental detonations. After the nuclear device was placed at the bottom of the shaft, a 2000 pound armour plate was placed on top of the shaft to seal it. Engineers expected it to be blown off.
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When the nuclear bomb was detonated at the bottom of the shaft, the nuclear material released 99.9% of its total energy within a millionth of a second.  As the smoke cleared after the test...there was no sign of the armour plate. When reviewing the high speed cameras, the manhole cover was seen in a single frame. Given the speed of the frames, they were able to calculate the departure speed of the manhole cover to blasted off the top of a test shaft at a speed of more than 41 miles per second; or over 150,000 mph.
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Experimental engineers had estimated that due to the dynamic overpressure resulting from the nuclear explosion, combined with the specific design of the shaft, would accelerate the manhole cover to approximately six times Earth's escape velocity(25,020 mph). The plate was never found, however it is hypothesized that it may have been vaporized by atmospheric compression temperatures due to its extreme speed.
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Given the fact that the manhole cover was travelling at 41 miles per second, well above the nessasary velocity to escape Earths gravity. It is quite likely that the manhole cover left our atmosphere with great expediency, smashed through the orbital gravitational pull of our planet, and continued on its merry way into the cold darkness of space.
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As a matter of fact, the manhole cover is still travelling away from our planet, and hasn’t started slowing down yet…
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3 comments


  • Tom

    Hmmm. In case you didn’t know, Star Trek Voyager is a fictional television series. The warp drive that is such a prominent part of the Star Trek stories does not exist. Just sayin


  • Scotty
    WRONG! Star Trek: Voyager series warp 9.9 is directly mentioned in a dialog with four billion miles per second (6.5 billion km per second), which is about 21,468 times faster than the speed of light.

  • Chris

    Holy shit, proofread much?


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