The Measure of Our Space Programs… In Horses
Kyle Maxey posted on December 18, 2014 |

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Have you ever wondered exactly how much say, the Mercury missions’ Atlas rocket weighed in comparison to Skylab or the International Space Station? Better yet, have you ever wondered how much a Saturn V can lift when compared to a Soyuz rocket? Well, if you have then Randall Munroe of xkcd likely just made your day.

In an utterly strange chart Monroe has compared how spacecraft from the 1950 to the present have compared as far as mass is concerned. What makes the chart even more compelling is its system of measurement. Rather than using the standard metric scale Monroe has chosen horses, and sometimes, dogs, as his yardstick.

Regardless of how ludicrous xkcd’s measurement might be it’s nevertheless an impressive summary of the ability of our space programs’ to send gear off world. And anyway, who can honestly say they can fathom the difference between 50,000 and 1M kg. In the end horses seem just as good a measurement as a kilo, and in fact, they’re more fun.

Source: xkcd

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