by Matthew Cobb
You either watched this live, or followed it on Twitter, or you don’t particularly care. Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner jumped out of a ballon 24 miles high over New Mexico, watched by over 7 million people on a YouTube livefeed and heaven knows how many other people round the world.
As of writing, I’m still not clear whether he actually broke the sound barrier (this may be complicated by the fact that the speed of sound alters with air density and therefore with altitude…). Whatever you think of the exploit, you surely have to salute his coolness under amazing stress.
On his way up he tweeted “Do you think I will survive this? :)” and then, just as he was about to step out of the capsule, he tweeted “Here’s my last tweet for a while. Who knows, maybe my last tweet ever” Thankfully it wasn’t, and he survived.
Here are various videos and pics:
Just before he jumped:
A GIF of the opening seconds (bad for those of us who get vertigo):
The full jump on video:
And a happy Baumgartner on the ground:
There’s a discussion with him going on at Twitter – search for #stratos
Not sure what all this has to do with why evolution is true, but it no doubt tells us something about the capacity of people to do some very odd and courageous things…