Originally published at: This object is now the fastest thing humans ever made | Boing Boing

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Per Star Trek, it should be able to travel back in time on the next loop correct?

It achieved such an astonishing speed by swinging in and right out of Venus’s orbit, using the planet’s gravity to boost the probe’s velocity.

To head back in time, wouldn’t it have to be rotating opposite of the planets?

If you’re curious like me, that is only 0.0588% of the speed of light.

“only”

I wonder, is it fast enough to start seeing any relativistic effects? On the other hand, how would those effects compare to its position in the sun’s gravity well? (I know we need to take into account gravity for GPS satellites)

… kind of a backwards way of looking at it

If the probe’s speed had been *increased* by encountering Venus, it would have entered a *larger* orbit, not a smaller one

It used the planet’s gravity to *slow down,* and then it was the *sun’s gravity* that sped it up again as it approached the bottom of its solar orbit

Oh man, I hope they put some sort of highly accurate clock so that they could measure it! I know they have some that have gone into orbit and record extremely minute differences.

Orbit the planet three times widdershins and the devil himself is summoned!

zoom from New York to Los Angeles in just over 20 seconds.

Does it come with a bag for your skin and organs?

No, those arrive later on a separate flight.

Any speed is fast enough for relativistic effects, they’re just really, really small…

Well, considering the GPS satellites, which move at about 14,000 kph, experience and have to correct for relativistic effects amounting to about 7ms per day, this probe is certainly experiencing such effects as well. On top of that, being that deep inside of a gravity well also has relativistic effects.

Computing the exact relativistic difference between a clock orbiting the Sun at 635,266kph vs a ground-based clock here on Earth is left as a trivial exercise for the student. Please show your work, this is an open-book exam.

/s

yeah, I thought that just after I wrote it. Maybe I really mean significant? But what is significant… etc. Maybe I just am curious how much of an effect there is, at that speed, compared to us.

Exactly.

At 0.0588% of the speed of light… not much of a difference.

Space is just so freaking big.

If my math is right, at this speed it would still take it over 7000 years to reach Alpha Centari. It really shows just how fast light is and very very big space is.

To put it in more relatable terms, it is travelling at 109 miles per second. You could travel from San Francisco to New York city in under 30 seconds.

To put it in even more relatable terms, for the non-scientific among us, it may be easier to visualize this as 17942 times the top speed of a swimming penguin.