Click start to play today’s Spell It, where we talk about ‘fast’ animals, people, planets and more things that make our heads spin.
There’s something extremely impressive about being so fast that you become a blur to the naked eye. Here, we share some of the fastest creatures and things in the universe:
1. Speediest animals
The cheetah is perhaps the first animal you thought of when we said ‘fast’ – and it’s true. These big cats can reach speeds of 95km/h in seconds. A surprising runner-up is the pronghorn antelope, which can rival cheetahs, with a speed of 85km/h, according to National Geographic. Now that land animals are covered, look into the ocean for the fastest marine animal. It’s the sailfish, which can travel up to 110km/hr – and that’s just when it breaks through the water! Now, turn your eyes up to the sky and you might spot the fastest bird. The peregrine falcon is so fast, it leaves even the cheetah in the dust. When it’s hunting for small birds, it can dive at 320km/h!
2. Fastest human
Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt still remains the world record holder for the fastest 100m sprint, at 9.58 seconds at the 2009 track world championships. Interestingly, according to a July 2022 report in US-based science news website Science, researchers looked into Bolt’s performance and found that he’s actually less aerodynamic than the average person. Scientists found that less than eight percent of the energy generated by his muscles is used for motion, while the rest is absorbed by drag. But this fact makes his achievement all the more impressive – his body was powerful enough to drive him to become the fastest person on the planet. His world record remains undefeated.
3. Fastest planet
While Neptune lumbers along to finish its orbit of the sun every 60,000 days, Mercury manages to complete it in a speedy 88-day cycle. But imagine a place where every year comes around every 8.5 hours! Astronomers think they’ve found the shortest orbital period – or year – on Kepler-78b, a planet that’s about the size of the Earth. It’s so close to its star that scientists call it a ‘lava planet’ according to the website Science.
4. Fastest wind
According to US-based Mount Washington Observatory, a small mountain by the same name – Mount Washington – in New Hampshire, US, has long held the title of fastest recorded wind on Earth. Measured in 1934, its wind speeds reached 372km/h. But in 1996, Barrow Island in Australia broke that record, thanks to tropical cyclone Olivia, which produced wind speeds of 407km/h. Although nothing to scoff at, those speeds seem like a pleasant breeze compared to ultraviolet winds that blow around black holes in the universe – their speeds can reach up to 200 million km/h! Scientists believe that even faster quasar winds exist. Brr!
5. Fastest production car
It’s no easy feat to gain the title of world’s fastest car. According to the Guinness World Records website, in order to qualify as a production car, an automaker has to produce 30 models of the same car, and the cars must have all the things we’re used to seeing in regular cars – like headlights, indicators, and so on. In 2022, the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport became the fastest production car, with an impressive top speed of 490.37km/h – which is equivalent to nearly half of Mach One or the speed of sound. The car costs $3.8 million (Dh13.96), and can hit 322km in seconds in 14.8 seconds.