It is pretty widely agreed that things moving in space move rather quickly, but a video showing how fast the International Space Station (ISS) moves has been stunning viewers.
The video, that has been viewed more than 700,000 times since being posted on YouTube in 2022, begins by showing a simulation of the ISS in space.
The space station moves at an average speed of 17,150mi/h (27,600km/h) as it orbits the planet. This is an estimated equivalent of going at Mach 22.3. For context, the speed of sound travels at Mach 1.
Now, the most interesting part of the video is seeing how fast the station would be moving if it were at ground level. The owner of the video, YouTube channel Airplane Mode, said this simulation was done using Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.
The ISS would be able to blitz through the entirety of New York city in under three seconds, illustrating the unbelievable speeds the station is moving at in space.
The simulation also shows how quickly the station would be moving over mountain ranges across the globe.
For added context, the clip also shows comparatively how slow something moving at the speed of sound would travel at through the city.
“This really puts into perspective how slow sound actually is, this is crazy stuff,” one YouTuber commented.
“I think it’s crazy that we as humans made an object go that fast. I bet Newton would be pretty shocked to hear we actually went fast enough to orbit Earth like he theorized back when the fastest vehicles were sailing ships,” another remarked.
“Manhattan came and went in less than two seconds. Ha, that’s insane,” one user wrote.
“I have seen the ISS fly over on many late night dog walks and have often wondered how fast it would be going ‘for us.’ Well, now we know. Awesome video man!
“This really emphasizes the fact that all an orbit is is going so fast that by the time you start to fall towards the planet, the floor just curves and you’re back where you started,” another amazed YouTuber wrote.
Despite the rapid speed the ISS is moving at, it still takes the station 90-93 minutes to orbit the Earth, highlighting just how massive our blue planet is.
Daisy Hips is a science communicator who brings the wonders of the natural world to readers. Her articles explore breakthroughs in various scientific disciplines, from space exploration to environmental conservation. Daisy is also an advocate for science education and enjoys stargazing in her spare time.