Q:

What is the fastest moving object on Earth?

A:

Quick Answer

Objects near to Earth can move at a wide range of speeds, but the theoretical maximum velocity for anything on or around the planet is 11.2 kilometers per second. This upper limit is defined by the escape velocity of Earth. Anything moving above this threshold will be ejected to space.

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Full Answer

There exists a smooth gradient between zero velocity relative to the surface of the Earth and escape velocity. Rocks from the crust, for example, are sometimes displaced by meteorite impacts. While some, far from the impact site, might only be slightly displaced, others, much closer, can be accelerated to beyond escape velocity and leave Earth altogether. An object at sea level, if it could travel without friction or obstacles in its path, would drift into orbit at speeds above 8 km/s, which acts as another theoretical speed limit.

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