Medicine: The Fastest Man on Earth

(See Cover)

The mechanical voice of the loudspeaker cracked across the clear, dry air of New Mexico's Tularosa Valley: "Ten, nine, eight . . ."

Safe in a concrete bunker, tense men at a periscope window kept their eyes on Sonic Wind No. 2, a squat, steel sled with the menacing look of a robot spider. Beneath its red-and-white-striped cab, a string-straight rail track ran across the shimmering heat of Holloman Air Force Base. A patch of blue water dammed up between the rails stretched toward the end of the line, 3,500 ft. away.


Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!