It appears one American stealth bomber was not so stealthy when Google Maps captured the military aircraft in an image unique enough to accompany the rest of the virtual tool’s iconically strange sitings.
The surprisingly clear image has since gone viral on Reddit, receiving upwards of 100,000 votes accompanied by thousands of comments.
According to Newsweek, Google Maps caught the image of the stealth bomber soaring above Davis Township, Missouri. Per Airfare Technology, the MO’s Whiteman Air Force Base lies home to 21 of the incredibly fast B-2s.
The image itself is unique. However, what makes its clarity noteworthy is that the stealth bomber can travel at speeds that entirely shatter the sound barrier. They’re further able to top elevations of more than 50,000 feet.
Explore the Science Behind Satellite Imagery
As per the outlet, Google Maps credited the image to Maxar Technologies who specialize in satellite imagery. The blurred effect on the stealth bomber denotes its true speed. Although, the colored layers reveal the way in which the agency was able to capture the image at all. For curious Outsiders, NASA explained just how satellite imagery works.
“To make a satellite image, we choose three bands and represent each in tones of red, green, or blue. Because most visible colors can be created by combining red, green, and blue light, we then combine the red, green, and blue-scale images to get a full color representation of the world.”
The process of color satellite imaging is captivating overall. But, what’s more impressive is the speed at which the satellite captured the photo of the stealth bomber. Newsweek highlighted that the separation of colors, appearing as a small rainbow, indicates both the satellite’s and the B-2’s speed.
All You Need to Know About the B-2 Stealth Bomber
Google Map’s colorful image of the B-2 bomber is surely noteworthy, however, what contributes to its recent fame is the narrative of the stealth bomber itself.
In speaking to the siting, Northrop Grumman, whom the news outlet identified as the B-2’s prime contractor, shared interesting information about the aircraft.
Overall, the B-2 measures 69 feet in length with a height of 17 feet and boasts a 172-foot wingspan. The wingspan itself is noteworthy as it measures half the length of a football field. Action film fans might recognize the military aircraft from iconic films such as “Armageddon,” “Iron Man 2,” and “Captain Marvel” to name a few.
Further, the B-2 is capable of hauling up to 20 tons. Its rate of travel is even more impressive when you break it down into flight lengths. Grumman’s statistics report the stealth bomber “can travel 6,000 nautical miles without refueling and 10,000 nautical miles with only one refueling.” Essentially, travel upon a B-2 can get an individual anywhere in the world in just hours.