Clouds outside an airplane window


Clouds outside an airplane window

If you’ve ever ridden in a commercial airplane, such as a Boeing 747 jet, you were told the plane is travelling fast (about 550 MPH) but the scenery outside the plane seems to move sooooo slow. An SR-71 Blackbird plane, the airplane the United States government uses to spy on eh, overseas governments, travels significantly faster. At about 2,7000 MPH or Mach 3.5, clouds passing by a Blackbird appear to move noticeably faster than those outside a 747. Now step aboard a space probe and see how stunningly fast they move through the sky.

Compare New Horizons space probe speed to Boeing 747 and SR-71 Blackbird

A deep-space probe, such as the New Horizons probe which recently flew past Pluto, moves at an astonishing 36,000 MPH. In the animation below, created by Goggle’s Clay Bavor, we can see the comparative speed of New Horizons as compared to the SR 71 Blackbird and a Boeing 747 jetliner.

Animation showing relative speed of a space probe compared to a 747 airplane and the SR-71 Blackbird

Wow! If travelling aboard New Horizons, zipping across the sky 36,000 MPH, you’d be able to travel from San Francisco to New York in only five minutes! Of course the acceleration and deceleration would turn you to mush but hey, this is science! And yes, at these speeds, it’s apparent why the New Horizons probe made little effort to stop and enjoy the scenery while whizzing past Pluto.


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