10 of the Fastest Things in the Universe

5 min read

Do you know who’s the fastest runner in the world? Do you know the fastest land animal? What about the fastest car? Keep reading to find out the answers to these questions.

10. Humans

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Here are a few of the fastest humans on Earth and what they are known for:

-Fastest man: Jamaican Usain Bolt – 100 meter dash in 9.58 seconds

-Fastest woman: American Florence Griffith-Joyner – 100 meter dash in 10.49 seconds

-Fastest eater: Joey Chestnut – 74 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes

-Fastest rapper: Rebel XD – 852 syllables in 42.2 seconds

-Fastest guitarist: Daniel Himebauch – played Flight of the Bumblebee at a speed of 2,000 bpm (beats per minute)

9. Animals

Plastic Animals
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-The fastest animal on Earth is the cheetah. Cheetahs are capable of reaching speeds of 120 km/h for around 500 meters.

-The fastest bird is the peregrine falcon. It can reach a speed of 350 km/h when it dives to catch its prey.

-The fastest fish is the sailfish of the Istiophorus family. It can reach speeds of 110 km/h.

-The fastest turtle is Bertie, who set a record of 0.28 m/s in 2014.

Sorry, cartoon fans. Sonic the Hedgehog didn’t make the list. Guess he really isn’t the fastest thing alive, LOL!

8. Light

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Light travels at a mind-boggling speed of 186,000 mi/sec. In miles per hour, that comes out to about 670,616,629 mph. To further put that into perspective, if humans could travel at the speed of light, we would be able to circle the globe 7.5 times in one second.

-Early scientists thought that light traveled instantaneously. But, thanks to the work of Albert Einstein, Galileo and others, we now know that light has a particular speed, and that that speed is measurable.

-186,000 miles per second refers to the speed of light in a vacuum–in an empty space with nothing to slow it down. For example, when light travels through water or air, it moves more slowly as it interacts with the atoms in those substances. If it slows down enough, other particles will be able to shoot past it.

7. Laser Pulse

Source: Pixabay

Until recently, the fastest thing in the universe was the speed of light. A few months ago, however, physicists at the NEC Research Institute in Princeton, NJ, discovered something that can travel even faster. During an experiment, the physicists used a device they developed to fire a laser pulse into a glass chamber filled with a vapor of cesium atoms. According to ABC News, the laser pulse went through the glass chamber so quickly that it “left the chamber before it had even finished entering.”

“Our experiment does show that the generally held misconception that ‘nothing can travel faster than the speed of light’ is wrong,” Lijun Wang, a researcher with the NEC Research Institute, said in an ABC News article.

6. Sound

Megaphone Speakers
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Like light, the speed of sound depends on other factors. For example, the speed of sound depends on the temperature of the air it’s moving through. The colder the air temperature, the slower the speed of sound. At sea level at an air temperature of 59 degrees Fahrenheit, the speed of sound is 761.2 miles per hour.

-Mach 1, the first controlled flight to break the sound barrier, happened on October 14, 1947.

-On November 16, 2004, NASA’s X-43A aircraft flew 9+ times as fast as Mach 1’s Glamorous Glennis (an X-1 aircraft). It flew at nearly 7,000 miles per hour.

5. Amusement Park Rides

Amusement Park
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Who doesn’t enjoy a good thrill ride? And, the faster the ride the better, right? Well, that depends on who you ask, lol! But, for you extreme thrill seekers, here are two of the fastest amusement park rides in the world:

The fastest roller coaster is at Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The Formula Rossa, as it’s called, reaches a speed of 240 km/h. The fastest water slide is right here in the good old U.S. of A. The Verruckt is found at the Schlitterbahn Water Park, in Kansas City, KS, and has an average speed of 104 km/h.

4. Computer

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The Sunway TaihuLight, a supercomputer made in China, can carry out 93 quadrillion calculations per second. It’s twice as fast as the second-most powerful supercomputer in the world, which was also made in China. The Sunway TaihuLight is kept at the National Supercomputing Center in the eastern Chinese city of Wuxi and is used for research and engineering work in areas such as climate, data analytics, life science, advanced manufacturing, and weather and earth systems modeling.

FUN FACTS: The Sunway TaihuLight contains 41,000 chips, 10,649,600 cores, and 1,310,720 GB of memory. It uses 15,371.00 kW of power.

3. Man-Made Spinning Object

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Researchers at Purdue University created the fastest man-made spinning object, with a speed of 60 billion revolutions per minute. According to Purdue, the tiny dumbbell is “more than 100,000 times faster than a high-speed dental drill.” Devices such as this were used to discover things like gravitational constant and density of Earth, but the researchers are hopeful this new discovery with help them study quantum mechanics.

Also contributing to the work were researchers from Peking University, Tsinghua University, and the Collaborative Innovation Center of Quantum Matter in Beijing. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and Office of Naval Research.

2. Modes of Transport

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Need to get around in a hurry? Try one of these ultra-fast modes of transport:

-Fastest production car: Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport. It can reach a speed of 431 km/h.

-Fastest non-production car: Thrust SSC. This car comes with jet engines instead of a regular car engine and was the first car to break the sound barrier at 1,227 km/h. Sorry, it’s not for sale 🙂

-Fastest train: Japanese JR-Maglev train. It can reach a speed of 581 km/h.

-Fastest jet: U.S. Air Force X-15. It can reach a maximum speed of 7,274 km/h.

-Fastest space craft: NASA’s New Horizons. It travels at a speed of 58,000 km/h.

-Fastest helicopter: Sikorsky X2. In 2010, it was able to travel at 415 km/h without crashing.

-Fastest elevator: Located in Taipei Tower in Taiwan, this elevator moves at a speed of 60 km/h.

1. Text Message

Text Message
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Guinness World Records keeps track of just about everything–even the fastest time to type a text message on a touch-screen mobile phone. The prize went to Brazilian teenager Marcel Fernandes Filho who, in 2014, typed a text message in 17 seconds. Here’s what the message said:

The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human.

To qualify for the record, Filho could not use autocorrect or predictive text features.

FUN FACT: The first-ever record was set by Franklin Page in March 2010. Page typed a text message in 35.54 seconds.


These are just a few of the fastest people, animals and things in the universe. If you have any others to add to the list, please feel free to do so in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!