Speed Thrills



Humans are fascinated by speed: youngsters and scientists alike.  Students in Germany have broken the record for the fastest accelerating electric car.  In space travel the record is held by the trio of astronauts who flew Nasa’s Apollo 10 mission in 1969.  US Air Force plans to develop the hypersonic jets that would travel at more than five times the speed of sound (Mach 5 which is  3,790mph or 6,100km/h).

NASA, America’s space agency, is developing  the Orion spacecraft Orion is intended to carry astronauts into a low Earth orbit which will break the 46-year-old record.  The Space Launch System will have its first crewed mission in 2021.  Orion’s typical maximum velocity will be in the neighbourhood of 19,900mph (32,000km/h) and it may far exceed the expectation also because it is likely to be sent to many different destinations over its lifetime.

But, rapid acceleration and deceleration can be deadly to the human organism due to the phenomenon of inertia.  But, speed, if relatively constant and in one direction, will not affect.  So, theoretically humans should be able to travel at rates just short of the “Universe’s speed limit”: the speed of light either by exploiting loopholes in known physics or through paradigm-shattering discoveries.

BBC Credit Link