Out Of This World Stats

Paul Morrone |

By Paul Morrone CFP®, CPA/PFS, MSA

When I was younger, everyone thought I was going to be an engineer. It didn’t seem entirely out of character back then, as I was (and still am) fascinated with how things work. While other children were reading the Hardy Boys, I was reading books about how planes fly and how cars are built. Even today, it’s not uncommon for me to get sucked into many of the Smithsonian or Discovery Channel shows that go into a painful amount of detail about engineering marvels or mega machines. In fact, this very topic came up in the latest episode of one of my favorite shows (Amazon’s ‘The Grand Tour’ – formerly BBC’s ‘Top Gear’) where one of the show’s hosts was talking about the evolution of automotive technology and how it has advanced since the construction of the Saturn V rocket (yes, the one that put Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon). It’s a scary thought, but the engine management system on the Ford Fiesta has 10,000 times the computing power of the great Saturn IV, the most complex machine ever built. Try to comprehend that for a minute.

The show was chock full of stats about the trip that took America to the moon and the vast amount of resources needed to achieve what was previously thought to be impossible.  Having not lived through it myself, I didn’t realize the scale of NASA’s space program in its heyday. It was an enormous undertaking, even by modern day standards, and it still amazes me that we were able to get 3 men to the moon and back all with technology from the 1960s. Here are a few that warped my mind:

  • Over 411,000 people worked on the space program
  • The Saturn V rocket was as tall as a 36-story building (taller than the Statue of Liberty)
  • It was made up of 3 million components
  • During the first 2.5 minutes of flight the rocket burned fuel at the rate of 20 tons per second
  • In the same 2.5 minutes, the rocket produced enough energy to power all of New York City for 75 minutes
  • Another fun fact, the preferred vehicle of the US Astronauts is the Chevrolet Corvette! Almost all of them drove one.

Seeing as I’ve missed my chance to grow up to be an astronaut, I’ll have to settle for a trip to the Kennedy Space Center one day. Hopefully Kyle will enjoy it as much as I will!

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