Entertainment Editor
01.25.10 3 Comments

Felix Baumgartner is planning to travel to the edge of space in a weather balloon in order to freefall 23 miles (120,000 feet) and create a sonic boom with his own body.  This might kill him, nobody knows yet.  Which means we have to kick somebody off a weather balloon and find out.  That’s the rule. 

The current freefall record stands at 19.47 miles (102,800 ft), set by ultimate badass Joe Kittinger in 1960.  During Kittinger’s ascent, his right glove failed and his hand swelled up to twice its size, so he could give himself a stranger and pretend it was Paul Bunyan. (I’m a classy guy.) Despite severe pain, Kittinger continued the ascent and made the jump anyway, breaking the current record, also set by him.  He later served as a fighter pilot in Vietnam and and spent 11 months in a North Vietnamese prison.  He then worked as a blacksmith/snake-wrangler who traveled to Burma to rescue a group of Christian aid workers who were kidnapped by the evil Pa Tee Tint, singlehandedly handing the Burmese army their own asses.  That last part may have been John Rambo.

Baumgartner is planning the jump for sometime this year, with Kittinger assisting at ground control.  The trailer below shows the two of them meeting for the first time.  An awesome moment.

[Gizmodo, New Scientist]

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