Take Felix Baumgartner, for example. To be more specific, take Felix Baumgartner to New Mexico, put him in a pressurized capsule attached to a helium balloon and send him aloft. Let him float up into the wild, blue yonder to, oh, say 24 miles. That’s 128,100 feet up.
In other words … way-the-frig up.
OK, so there he be. What’s next? Look out the window? Click a few pictures for the folks back home in Austria? Give Domino’s a ring and ask for a delivery?
Nah. How about open the hatch and jump? Oh sure, good idea. Well, while wearing a spacesuit and a parachute, of course. After all, the man’s not crazy. Much.
So Felix, you’re 24 miles up above the Earth, you’ve opened your cozy capsule’s door and heaved yourself out through it. Now what?
“Let me tell you – when I was standing there on top of the world, you become so
humble. You don’t think about breaking records anymore, you don’t think about
gaining scientific data – the only thing that you want is to come back alive,” the 43-year-old Austrian-born daredevil told reporters afterwards.
No caca, Sherlock. Oh, and don’t forget, there’s another thing. Right about then, you … fall. Very fast. No, make that very, very fast. More than 119,000 feet. Down. In just under 4 and a half minutes. Which translates to Mach 1.24, with a top speed of about 833.9 miles per hour.
I suppose some will question the necessity of doing such a daring and potentially suicidal act. Still more will question the man’s sanity for even thinking of doing it. And still others who will shake their heads in bewilderment and ask Felix … Why?
Not me. I know why. See those Red Bull sponsorship emblems on his suit? There’s the reason, the motive behind the mystery, the “smoking Brahma,” so to speak.
I’ve often downed enough of that human rocket fuel to propel myself up 24 miles into the atmosphere, it only makes sense someone would want to find out what it feels like to come down from it.
I tip my silver can to you, Felix. Cheers.