Raytheon’s The Sum of All Thrills (SOAT) ride opened in Epcot’s Innoventions East in 2009, and quickly became a word-of-mouth hit. Using computer software and a neat touch-screen interface, you design the track layout of a thrill ride themed as either a traditional roller coaster, a bobsled, or a jet fighter, and you specify how intense the ride ends up. Once you’re done with the design, you’re loaded into a Kuka robotic arm, and get to “ride” your creation. It’s a hoot.
Raytheon also has a website, www.MathMovesU.com, which includes math quizzes related to the attraction. Playing around on the website this morning, this question caught my attention:
The Split S barrel roll maneuver requires flying as fast as our jet will allow; Mach 6.7 (mach being 340 m/s).
What is the number of miles per second you will be going when you complete this maneuver?
An interesting question. The speed is given in Metric units (meters per second), and you have to specify the answer in Imperial units (miles per second). I like it!
So I did the math:
The jet flies at 6.7 * 340 m/s, which is 2,278 meters/second.
Using Google’s conversion tools, 2,278 meters is about 1.415 miles. Thus, the jet is moving about 1.415 miles per second.
However, when you enter 1.415, 1.42 or anything close to that as the answer, you’re told you’re wrong. Then you get this hint from the website:
Mach 6.7 simply means 6.7 times the speed of sound, which is 340 m/s. In order to solve this problem, we need to multiply 6.7 by 340.
Multiplying 6.7 x 340 yields 2,278. But that’s only a partial hint, since the question says you have to answer in miles per second. This was apparently missed by the folks who worked on the MathMovesU website, because the website thinks 2,278 is the right answer. (That is, the website thinks the jet is traveling at 2,278 miles per second, or roughly 1.2% of the speed of light.) To put this in perspective, the website thinks jet’s speed is more than fifty times faster than the Helios 2 spacecraft, the fastest speed ever reached by a man-made object.
Of course, I could be wrong about the math. Let me know if you see anything.
Finally, we’ve updated our Lines, our mobile website for WDW wait times, to include estimates for Sum of All Thrills wait times.