25 Facts About Speed. Interesting and Surprising Facts

Speed! You might think that this is a boring topic. But believe it or not, there are a plethora of interesting facts about speed. Thus, we are here to let you know about 25 facts about speed that you might not yet aware of.

Do you want to know more? Then you have come to the right place. Because in this post, we will be sharing some very exciting and exceptional facts about speed. So, keep reading on and you will see what we are talking about.

Let’s begin….

25 Interesting Facts About Speed

#1 Origin of the Word ‘Speed’:

facts about speed

The word speed came from the word ‘Sped’. In old English, the word ‘Sped’ meant ‘Thriving’ or ‘Success’. And, if we go a little back in history, then we see that the Latin word ‘Sperare’ meant ‘to hope’.

That means the root of the word ‘Speed’ that is ‘Spe’ came from the Latin words. And, from there, we have got the words ‘Sped>Speed’. Since the earlier 14th century, the word ‘Speed’ was used for indicating a term related to motion.

#2 First Person to Measure Speed:

facts about speed

Simply put, speed is the distance traveled by an object over a given amount of time. And the unit of speed is meter. So, let’s say a vehicle moves from point A to B in 30 seconds. And the distance between points ‘A’ to ‘B’ is 60 meters. Then the speed of this vehicle would be (The Distance/Time) = (60/30 = 2 meter per second).

That means if you want to find the speed of any object you have to divide the distance it has covered with the time it required. And, the first person to measure speed in this way i.e. calculate distance over time to find speed was the famous Italian astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei.

#3 Escape Velocity:

speed facts

Every object has a gravitational field. And, the bigger the object, the stronger the gravitational pull would be. For instance, if you would want to fly off the Earth with a spacecraft, you cannot break free from the Earth’s gravitational pull that easily.

Matter of fact, you i.e. your spacecraft would have to attain a speed of at least 11.186 km per second to escape the Earth’s gravitational pull. And, the escape velocity is the speed at which any particular object must need to travel to break free from the gravitational pull of any particular planet, moon, or other astronomical objects.

And if we convert the escape velocity of Earth to miles per hour that would be 25,020 mph. Interestingly among the planets, you would need the highest escape velocity to escape from Jupiter’s gravity. And, the escape velocity from Jupiter is 59.5 km per second. And the escape velocity from the Sun is 618 km per second.

#4 Animals with The Slowest Speed: 

speed facts

When it comes to the slowest animal in the world, the crown goes to the 3-toed sloth. These sloths are native to America. And, the average speed of them is about 0.003 mph. That means, the 3-toed sloth cannot move over 100 feet in a day. As a result, most of these sloths live their entire life in the same place.

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The second slowest animal in the world is Starfish or sea stars. They can move about 0.02 mph. Although Starfishes are called fish, they are not actually fish. They don’t have scales, fins, or any gills.

You might have thought the garden snail might be the slowest animal in the world, but that is not the case. In fact, they are still in the list of the slowest animals, though. And, the land snails are the third slowest animal in the world.

#5 Fastest Runner

speed facts

You already know who the fastest man in the world is. Yes, we are talking about Usain Bolt. He finished a 100-meter sprint in just 9.58 seconds back in 2009. In that instance, his average speed was 23.35 mph or 37.58 kph. Whereas the top speed was 27.44 mph or 44.16 kph.

However, archaeologists from Bond University has discovered some fossil of human footprints in Australia. After researching with the fossils, they came to know that these footprints belong to a few males from that time.

And, the interesting part was that one of them was running at 23 mph in that instance. It was about 20,000 years ago. And, he was barefoot. So, in that regard, he might be the fastest runner in history.

#6 Speed of Earth:

We all know the Earth is revolving around the Sun. And, the average orbital speed of Earth is about 30 km/s. And, at the equator, the surface of the Earth moves at a speed of about 460 meters/second. That translates into about 1,000 miles per hour.

#7 Speed of Tornado:

Typically, most of the tornadoes have wind speeds from 65 miles per hour to 110 miles per hour. The Oklahoma Tornado that hit the Oklahoma City on 3rd May 1999 was the fastest tornado recorded ever in Earth. The highest wind speed of that Tornado was about 318 mph.

#8 Fastest Bird:

The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest bird on the planet. Matter of fact, this is also the fastest animal on Earth. It can attain a maximum speed of up to 390 km/h or 242 miles/h while in a dive.

#9 Fastest Land Animal:

You might have already know the fact that Cheetah is the fastest animal in the land. It has a recorded speed from 109 km/h to 120 km/h.

#10 Fastest Fish:

When it comes to the fastest fish in the world, the crown goes to the Sailfish. This fish can attain a speed of up to 68 mph or 110 km/h in a short amount of time. They weigh about 100 kgs and grows up to over 10 feet.

#11 Speed of Light:

We know that the fastest thing in the world is the speed of light. However, the speed of light is not constant. It depends on the surroundings. The speed of light is the highest in a vacuum and that is about 299,792 kilometers per second or 186,282 miles per second. If you could attain that speed, you can revolve around the Earth 7.5 times in a second.

#12 Faster Than Light:

You know that there is nothing faster than light. However, there are hypothetical particles named ‘Tachyons’ that is thought to be faster than light. Now, we know that the universe is ever-expanding.

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And every galaxy is moving away from the other. In that regard, there are some very distant galaxies in the universe that are moving away faster from one another than the speed of light.

#13 The Fastest Insect:

Typically, you would think that most insects are not that fast. However, if you compare their speed to their body size, then you would find that they are relatively faster than us human beings.

Now, the fastest insect in the world is the Australian tiger beetle. It has recorded a speed of up to 2.5 meters per second or 5.6 mph. That is remarkably fast for an insect.

#14 Speed of Hurricane:

Hurricanes can be devastating. Typically, to be considered as a Category 1 hurricane, a tropical cyclone must have a wind speed of up to 74 miles per hour for about at least 1 minute.

However, the Category 5 hurricanes have a wind speed of up to 156 miles per hour. But, Hurricane Patricia was recorded as the most powerful hurricane in the world. It had a maximum wind speed of up to 215 miles per hour.

#15 Speed of Sound:

The speed of sound also varies depending on the medium it travels through. For instance, the speed of sound in the air is roughly 343 m/s or 767 mph or 1235 km/h. That means the speed of light is so much faster than the speed of sound.

#16 Land Speed Record:

The current land speed record is held by the ThrustSSC. This was a (twin turbofan) jet-powered car. In October 1997, this special supercar achieved a speed of up to 1227.985 kilometers per hour or 763.035 miles per hour. That means, it actually broke the speed of sound. As a result, it was the first land vehicle that broke the sound barrier.

#17 Aircraft Speed Record:

The fastest aircraft speed record is held by the Hypersonic X-43A. This is an aircraft made by NASA. It achieved this feat on Nov. 16, 2004, when it reached a top speed of 9.6 Mach or roughly 7,000 miles per hour. Incredibly fast, isn’t it?

#18 Watercraft Speed Record:

Interestingly, the fastest watercraft record was made back on 8 October 1978. And, it was achieved by Ken Warby from Australia when he attained a speed of about 511.121 km/h or 317.596 miles per hour with his special watercraft named Spirit of Australia.

#19 Spacecraft Speed Record:

facts about speed

The speed of any spacecraft needs to be measured against a frame of reference. And, depending on the frame of reference, the fastest spacecraft might vary.

However, if we take the Sun as the frame of reference, then the ‘Parker Solar Probe’ would have the record of being the fastest ever man-made spacecraft in the Universe.

The highest speed attained by this spacecraft relative to the Sun was about 153,454 miles per hour. For the record, this is also a creation of NASA. Incredible, isn’t it?

#20 Speed vs. Velocity:

facts about speed

A lot of us get confused about speed and velocity. You might think that both the term refer to the same thing. In reality, this is not particularly true. For your information, speed is the distance traveled by an object in a given time.

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And, speed doesn’t have a direction. Whereas, the velocity is the speed at which a particular object moves in a specific direction. Simply put, the speed with a direction is velocity.

#21 The First Land Speed Record:

We have to go back to 1898 for the very first land speed record ever held. This record was achieved by ‘Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat’ when he drove his battery-powered vehicle (The Jeantaud) with a speed of up to 39.245 mph or 63.157 km/h.

#22 Sun’s Orbital Speed

facts about speed

Like every other star, our Sun also revolves around the center of our Galaxy ‘The Milky Way’. And, with the Sun, we are also moving around the Milky Way galaxy. The Sun is about 28,000 light-years away from the center of the Milky Way. Thus, it needs to travel a lot faster to orbit the galaxy.

Matter of fact, the Sun (and the entire solar system) has average rotating speed of about 828,000 km/hr. It might seem so fast, but still, with this super speed, our Sun needs about 230 million years to complete a single orbit around the galactic center.

#23 Breaking the Sound Barrier:

When an object travels faster than the speed of sound, then we say that that object has broken the sound barrier. To break the sound barrier, you would need to travel faster than 767 miles per hour or 1234 kilometers per hour.

If we go back in history, we see that the first person and aircraft to break the sound barrier were Chuck Yeager and the Bell X-1 respectively. He broke the record on 14 October 1947. And the first woman to break the sound barrier on an aircraft was Jackie Cochran. She achieved this prestigious feat on 18th May 1953.

#24 Highest Speed in Freefall

facts about speed

So, do you know what is the highest speed achieved by a human being in free-fall? It was October 2012, when Felix Baumgartner attempted the world’s highest skydive from a height of about 39,045 meters or 128,100 feet.

During this record-breaking skydive, he achieved a top speed of about 1,342.6 km/h or 833.6 mph. That means he as a human projectile broke the sound barrier in the process of sky-diving from the stratosphere.

#25 Black hole’s Spinning Speed:

facts about speed

Many astronomers believe that all the black holes are rotating black holes. Some spin faster than the other. However, there is a limitation of the spinning speed of a black hole. But, there are several black holes that are spinning so fast that they are almost breaking the limit.

For instance, a particular black hole in the galactic center of the NGC 1365 Spiral Galaxy is rotating at a speed of 84 percent of the speed of light. It is the upper limit of the spinning speed of a black hole. If it could spin faster than that it would reveal itself. However, it is not possible by the laws of physics.

Wrap Up – Facts About Speed:

If you are still with us, then give yourself a pat in the back. Because now you know a lot of things about speed. In this post, we have intended to share 25 facts about the speed with our readers.

In the process, we have tried to include only the most unique and interesting facts. We hope you have liked all these information about speed. For more similar types of informative posts, you can browse through our site.

So, how many of these fascinating facts about speed you already knew? If you liked the post, you can share this with others. Also, you can share your opinions and suggestions in the comments section down below!

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About the Author: Jakaria Tiaz

Jakaria brings years of extensive experience in tech and business writing to the team. After working as the chief editor for several very large online magazines Jakaria agreed to take part in Tech 25 and help turn it into the leading Tech news and facts site online.