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Skydiver Leaps From 18 Miles Up In 'Space Jump' Practice

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the watch-the-first-step dept.

Space 192

wooferhound writes "A daredevil leapt from a balloon more than 18 miles above the Earth today, moving one step closer to a so-called 'space jump' that would set the record for the world's highest skydive. Austrian adventurer Felix Baumgartner stepped out of his custom-built capsule at an altitude of 96,640 feet (29,456 meters) above southeastern New Mexico, officials with Red Bull Stratos — the name of Baumgartner's mission — announced today. In today's jump, Baumgartner experienced freefall for three minutes and 48 seconds, reaching a top speed of 536 mph (863 kph), project officials said. Baumgartner then opened his parachute and glided to Earth safely about 10 minutes and 30 seconds after stepping into the void."

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First words (5, Funny)

EricScott (612681) | more than 2 years ago | (#40772415)

That's one small step for a man, One giant leap for me.

New Extreme Sport (4, Interesting)

sanman2 (928866) | more than 2 years ago | (#40772615)

If you could run this as a business operation, I wonder how much you could charge people for "space jumps"?

Re:New Extreme Sport (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40772815)

It's already a business operation; did you miss the 'Red Bull' part? "Mission" my aunt fanny.

Almost Craig Breedlove Speed! (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773461)

Breedlove set world land speed records of 500 and 600 mph, and one of his cars got up to about 675 before crashing.

Re:New Extreme Sport (2)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773117)

Call me when we get the screw attack.

Re:New Extreme Sport (4, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773777)

I wonder how much you could charge people for "space jumps"?

I'm not sure what the price level would be, but I can tell you that I have pretty much no interest in jumping out of an airplane, but I would do it multiple times if it were required to train for this kind of jump.

I'm pretty sure I could be 117, dying on a bed and, remembering my space jump, say, "fuck yeah" and die happy.

Re:First words (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40772693)

Welp, he's doing something relatively novel that requires expertise and generally pushing the envelope.

You therefore know one thing FOR CERTAIN: he's not black. Case rested, get as upset as you want, it's a FUCKING FACT, mod me down now as if that made facts go away, amen.

Pretty Cool (4, Insightful)

jomama717 (779243) | more than 2 years ago | (#40772425)

Makes me wish I'd been alive to watch live coverage of people LANDING ON THE FREAKING MOON.

Re:Pretty Cool (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40772451)

you didn't miss much since it never happened.

http://www.google.com/#hl=en&site=&source=hp&q=stanley+kubrick+moon+landing

Re:Pretty Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40772475)

0/10

Re:Pretty Cool (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40772627)

Obvious Idiot is Obvious.

Re:Pretty Cool (4, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#40772709)

If NASA took all the trouble to fake the moon landing, then why haven't they, in the past 40 years, faked another milestone, like landing on Mars?

Re:Pretty Cool (-1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773023)

Well, they had a bigger budget then. Congress is not willing to invest hard earned tax dollars into faking landings on mars and such, when we'd not have any communists to make look like asses while we were doing it.

Re:Pretty Cool (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773253)

Two Words:

Capricorn One.

OK. Bad example - OJ Simpson can't act.

Re:Pretty Cool (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40773389)

If NASA took all the trouble to fake the moon landing

Oh, but NASA did actually land on the moon, it's just the pictures that are faked.

Re:Pretty Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40773641)

Yeah, they had to leave out the frigging huge robots.

Re:Pretty Cool (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40772751)

you didn't miss much since it never happened.

http://www.google.com/#hl=en&site=&source=hp&q=stanley+kubrick+moon+landing

We really, truly did land on the moon.

That's why Armstrong punched out that reporter who asked if they really did it. Y'know, because the Neanderthal who responds to an honest question with unprovoked violence is definitely the more rational, superior man. No, he really landed but had something to hide, something so enormous that it shook his very own idea of how the world worked, that made him so irrational to the point of violence.

The videos were faked because they didn't want us to see what was actually there. Evidence of extraterrestrial life actually near Earth doesn't jive well with keeping the population fat and stupid and dependent on gov't/media (same thing really) and the older influences of religion to define the meaning of their lives. The moon is hollow because it rang like a gong when one of the Apollo spacecraft was crashed into it. The moon perfectly obscures the sun during an eclipse, the dark side never faces the earth, the orbit is not elliptical, it is large compared to the Earth, and therefore generally it could not be a captured body. It's artificial. Whoever built the pyramids at Giza built the moon too. The Bhagivad Gita describes nuclear fucking warfare thousands of years ago, perfectly to the letter the effects of radioactive fallout, then archaeologists found residual radiation in the areas it describes.

See if something is too different from what you were taught to believe by vested interest who want your thinking to be limited to nation-state affairs, then you automatically reject it, just like a good conditioned subject. Facts are facts. Dare to find your own.

Re:Pretty Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40772907)

That wasn't Armstrong, it was Aldrin you doofus.

Re:Pretty Cool (4, Interesting)

tragedy (27079) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773039)

The "reporter" lured Aldrin to a hotel under false pretenses, wasting his whole day. Then he ambushed him, making ridiculous demands. I found a brief snippet from the video, immediately before the punch and I've transcribed what I heard below:
"...you're the one who said you walked on the moon when you didn't. Calling the kettle black, if I ever thought I would say that"
"Would you get it away from me!"
"You're a coward, and a liar, and a thief..."
Then comes the punch. That doesn't really seem like responding to and honest question with unprovoked violence to me. Heck, even Sibrel himself sent a letter of apology (according to Sibrel, anyway) to Aldrin.

I have no idea what to say to the rest of your post. Hollow, artificial moon, built by the same people who built the (extremely small and unimpressive compared to their work on the moon) pyramids at Giza? You just never know quite what to say to that kind of thing. Backing away slowly while smiling reassuringly seems to be the only way to go.

Re:Pretty Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40773171)

Aldrin should have gotten a copy of the clip and printed T-shirts of the hit.
I would have bought one.

Re:Pretty Cool (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773733)

You just made me think of the Johnny Cash Finger t-shirt.

In Space ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40773627)

... no one can hear the enormous "Whoooooooooooooooooooooosh" that just flew over your head.

Re:Pretty Cool (2)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773259)

Condensed version:

That's no moon... it's a space station.

The "Moon": A Ridiculous Liberal Myth (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40773351)

Aliens, nothing! Here, read this before They brainwash you with more disinformation!

The "Moon": A Ridiculous Liberal Myth

It amazes me that so many allegedly "educated" people have fallen so quickly and so hard for a fraudulent fabrication of such laughable proportions. The very idea that a gigantic ball of rock happens to orbit our planet, showing itself in neat, four-week cycles -- with the same side facing us all the time -- is ludicrous. Furthermore, it is an insult to common sense and a damnable affront to intellectual honesty and integrity. That people actually believe it is evidence that the liberals have wrested the last vestiges of control of our public school system from decent, God-fearing Americans (as if any further evidence was needed! Daddy's Roommate? God Almighty!)

Documentaries such as Enemy of the State have accurately portrayed the elaborate, byzantine network of surveillance satellites that the liberals have sent into space to spy on law-abiding Americans. Equipped with technology developed by Handgun Control, Inc., these satellites have the ability to detect firearms from hundreds of kilometers up. That's right, neighbors .. the next time you're out in the backyard exercising your Second Amendment rights, the liberals will see it! These satellites are sensitive enough to tell the difference between a Colt .45 and a .38 Special! And when they detect you with a firearm, their computers cross-reference the address to figure out your name, and then an enormous database housed at Berkeley is updated with information about you.

Of course, this all works fine during the day, but what about at night? Even the liberals can't control the rotation of the Earth to prevent nightfall from setting in (only Joshua was able to ask for that particular favor!) That's where the "moon" comes in. Powered by nuclear reactors, the "moon" is nothing more than an enormous balloon, emitting trillions of candlepower of gun-revealing light. Piloted by key members of the liberal community, the "moon" is strategically moved across the country, pointing out those who dare to make use of their God-given rights at night!

Yes, I know this probably sounds paranoid and preposterous, but consider this. Despite what the revisionist historians tell you, there is no mention of the "moon" anywhere in literature or historical documents -- anywhere -- before 1950. That is when it was initially launched. When President Josef Kennedy, at the State of the Union address, proclaimed "We choose to go to the moon", he may as well have said "We choose to go to the weather balloon." The subsequent faking of a "moon" landing on national TV was the first step in a long history of the erosion of our constitutional rights by leftists in this country. No longer can we hide from our government when the sun goes down.

Re:The "Moon": A Ridiculous Liberal Myth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40773541)

Ah, so the moon is a spy satellite. The government admits that it is a satellite, but deliberately hides the fact that it was the government that put it there. OMG, everything makes sense now!

Re:Pretty Cool (2)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40772723)

Meh. The picture wasn't all that clear. The Pink Floyd improvisation that we got as soundtrack here in the UK was pretty cool, though.

Re:Pretty Cool (1)

SlashDev (627697) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773313)

I think you would be disappointed, the broadcast video would arrive in HD, perfect colors, video and sound, would look too much like a sci-fi film, people would believe this landing even less.

Re:Pretty Cool (1)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773505)

If only the video on the link had shown some real footage instead of only CGI...

Dyslexic much? (2)

ClickOnThis (137803) | more than 2 years ago | (#40772431)

From the article:

Red Bull Stratos is a mission to the edge of space to an altitude of 37.000 meters to break several records including the sound of speed in freefall

Re:Dyslexic much? (5, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#40772487)

Well, the faster you fall, the soundier your speed becomes. The goal is to make a proper *kaboom* instead of the ordinary *swiiish*.

Re:Dyslexic much? (4, Funny)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773267)

if you want a "kaboom" try an illudium Pu-36 explosive space modulator.

Re:Dyslexic much? (2)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773691)

Or just don't open the chute.

Re:Dyslexic much? (1)

Yobgod Ababua (68687) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773903)

The creature has stolen the space modulator!!!
Delays... delays...

Re:Dyslexic much? (2)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#40772721)

From the article:

Red Bull Stratos is a mission to the edge of space to an altitude of 37.000 meters to break several records including the sound of speed in freefall

Somebody should tell them that breaking this record [wikipedia.org] may lend them into troubles with RIAA (label: Rhino/Warner Bros)

Re:Dyslexic much? (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773765)

the sound of speed

vroom, vroom.

POWER TITS! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40772443)

Eat my balls with tarter sause and fish nipples! Fuckers!

Not exactly space as many know it (2)

pegasustonans (589396) | more than 2 years ago | (#40772457)

While these things are somewhat debatable, Baumgartner's future "space jump" is not due to take place in what most consider "space."

FTFA:

Baumgartner has his eyes on an even bigger leap, a "space jump" from 125,000 feet (38,100 m) in the next month or so. (Space, however, is generally considered to begin at an altitude of 62 miles, or 327,000 feet.)

It's still a great feat and laudable they went ahead with it despite ridiculous legal challenges:

Baumgartner and his team had hoped to attempt his record jump in 2010, but they were delayed by a legal challenge that claimed the idea of the dive was earlier suggested to Red Bull by California promoter Daniel Hogan.

Re:Not exactly space as many know it (3, Funny)

Teresita (982888) | more than 2 years ago | (#40772497)

So you're saying we have patent trolls asserting their exclusive right to the "look and feel" of a balloon jump.

Re:Not exactly space as many know it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40772919)

So you're saying we have patent trolls asserting their exclusive right to the "look and feel" of a balloon jump.

Are they Apple employees? I guess a roughly spherical balloon has "rounded corners" then?

Re:Not exactly space as many know it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40773353)

Daniel Hogan should have been introduced to the 'look and feel' of a 38km balloon jump in person.. Now the question is, does Daniel Hogan have the patent rights to the 'look and feel' of a suitable spacesuit?

Re:Not exactly space as many know it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40772519)

I had assumed as much. It's a space jump like those weather balloon projects are space balloons. Stratosphere territory... way the hell up, and from there, looks like you're in space.

Re:Not exactly space as many know it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40772637)

err... Prior Art:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Excelsior

Dayvan Cowboy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40772459)

I sincerely hope they get Boards of Canada to provide the theme song for the actual space jump.

-gz612

The Most Question Is Of Course... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40772465)

Was he wearing the Google Glasses and will the replay be on YouTube later?

Fastest Human? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40772467)

Did he also attain distinction of being fastest non-propelled human?

Citius, Altius, Fortius? Not quite. (5, Interesting)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40772725)

Did he also attain distinction of being fastest non-propelled human?

No, I'm pretty sure that record was set by the Apollo 10 re-entry, at close to 40,000 km/h (almost 25,000 mph).

He's not even the fastest skydiver - that record has held for 52 years now - Joseph Kittinger did a free fall in 1960 that lasted 21% longer and reached a top speed 15% faster than what Baumgartner just did.

Re:Citius, Altius, Fortius? Not quite. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40773241)

From wikipedia on Kittinger, it sounds like this wasn't even the highest jump. So what "record" did he set?

quoting: " Kittinger's record-setting leap from over 102,800 feet "

Re:Citius, Altius, Fortius? Not quite. (2)

billstewart (78916) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773433)

The Apollo 10 astronauts were in a capsule, not skydiving, but that hadn't happened when Kittinger set the record in 1960. Even Yuri Gagarin's flight wasn't until 1961, and the U-2 planes only went up to about 70,000 feet.

Re:Citius, Altius, Fortius? Not quite. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40773449)

No, I'm pretty sure that record was set by the Apollo 10 re-entry, at close to 40,000 km/h (almost 25,000 mph).

He's not even the fastest skydiver - that record has held for 52 years now - Joseph Kittinger did a free fall in 1960 that lasted 21% longer and reached a top speed 15% faster than what Baumgartner just did.

Kittinger is part of Felix's team as an adviser. Their goal is to actually break Mach 1, which Kittinger nearly did.

air resistance (4, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#40772471)

Air resistance up to typical skydiving altitude provides sufficient drag to keep the person from accelerating to the point where deceleration would result in so much friction as to vaporize the person. If this guy's really dead-set on jumping from the actual threshold of space...

1. He'll need thermal insulation until he's in the earth atmosphere properly. I hear it's pretty cold up there.

2. I think it's safe to assume he has the oxygen problem licked, because at 12 miles, he'd have suffocated.

3. I understand objects falling from that altitude tend to encounter very little air resistance, which means they pick up a lot of speed. The kind of speed that causes brilliant fireballs to appear in place of anything falling from that height, like asteroids, satellites, and space shuttles.

... I don't see how anyone could survive those kinds of physical stresses while maintaining any level of mobility, or having a silhouette even vaguely resembling a person. The low mass of a person (even one encased in inches-thick ceramic heat shielding, would mean the bow wave shocks would turn anyone inside into goo. Perhaps someone with a better understanding of physics clear up for me why this isn't the case, since I'm pretty sure Red Bull doesn't want their energy drink to be associated with what in my eyes is essentially suicide by thermodynamics?

Re:air resistance (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40772511)

Go read up on kittinger. Its been done before.

Re:air resistance (5, Insightful)

aapold (753705) | more than 2 years ago | (#40772587)

Kittinger's story is amazing. He used to call into a florida talk show I listened to when I lived there from time to time to talk about some of the stuff involved with his jump. He is consulting on this attempt, so while this attempt might seem a stunt, at least Kittinger is apparently getting paid for it.

Re:air resistance (2)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 2 years ago | (#40772555)

The air pressure increases gradually on the way down. Perhaps terminal velocity goes down gradually enough to provide a smooth transition. After all, the objects that typically end up as fireballs entered with quite a bit of extra velocity to start with.

Re:air resistance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40772557)

The current record jump, at 102,800 feet, is not all that far off from what Baumgartner is attempting, so it's not that far fetched.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Excelsior

Re:air resistance (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40772579)

If you have very little air resistance, you're not going to be generating any heat (you get hot from the friction caused by the air resistance).

Asteroids, satellites, and space shuttles don't just fall out of the sky, they were already moving fast enough to stay in orbit. Their massive speed helps make them hot. The jumper will not be traveling at orbital speeds, thus the increasing air resistance will be enough to slow him down before the speed+air friction gets high enough to burn him.

Re:air resistance (5, Interesting)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#40772749)

Actually, you don't get hot from the friction; you get hot from compressing the air in front of you.

Re:air resistance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40772799)

So what can I read to learn this stuff?

Re:air resistance (2)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773213)

this particular thing you can learn just by using a bicycle pump (and if you're still not convinced, compare it to rubbing a piece of rubber against an aluminum pipe).

Re:air resistance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40772865)

Would the 'space jump' that kirk performed in the latest Star Trek be possible then? I loved that shot...

Re:air resistance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40773041)

They were in what was effectively stationary orbit so yes it would've been possible

Re:air resistance (4, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 2 years ago | (#40772933)

Actually, you don't get hot from the friction; you get hot from compressing the air in front of you.

Kind of like this: Relativistic Baseball [xkcd.com]

Q: What would happen if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90% the speed of light?
A: The answer turns out to be “a lot of things”, and they all happen very quickly, and it doesn’t end well for the batter (or the pitcher).
... [ more w/illustrations ]

Re:air resistance (1)

SlashDev (627697) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773305)

So when you rub your hands together, it's air compression that is causing heat?

Re:air resistance (1)

Majkow (604785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773895)

no its friction of rubbing your hands together.

Re:air resistance (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773811)

Yeah, now that you mention it, I remember reading the leading theory on the Tunguska meteor/comet is that it exploded 5 or 10 miles above the earth because of the heat from the air compressed in front of it.

Re:air resistance (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773625)

For a geostationary satellite, ground velocity is zero. So roughly the same as the speed of the balloon this person jumped from (not taking wind speeds into account). Jumping off a geostationary would involve pushing oneself down towards earth, slowly picking up vertical speed (now I have heard before that it doesn't work exactly like that but I'm not a rocket scientist and it's not important for the sake of the argument). And you would also start to pick up horizontal speed compared to the Earth's surface during your descent down. Basically to go in a straight line down from geostationary to the surface, one would have to lose a lot of angular velocity in the process. Calculating entry speeds is getting more tricky now.

Now such a balloon is only a tiny way up to geostationary orbit, so this won't have much of an effect.

And another point that I start to wonder: how high above the surface would one have to go before reaching sufficient speeds to become a human torch during free-fall? Terminal velocity will increase rapidly with higher altitude due to lower air resistance.

Re:air resistance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40772589)

The kind of speed that causes brilliant fireballs to appear in place of anything falling from that height, like asteroids, satellites, and space shuttles.

Most of the energy for those objects is translational. The kinetic energy is much larger than the gravitational potential energy. The exact amount of course depends on the details, but ballpark figure off the top of my head, it can easily be a factor of 20. (Don't shoot me if I'm a bit off - been 30 years since I last calculated it).

So there's a lot of energy involved here, yes, but it's nothing at all like objects re-entering from orbital velocities. He won't burn up in a fireball.

Re:air resistance (3, Insightful)

tragedy (27079) | more than 2 years ago | (#40772639)

Asteroids, Satellites, and space shuttles don't just "fall" from that height. They're already going very, very fast (at least 25,000 km/h) before they hit the atmosphere. There's no way this guy would ever manage to go that fast even if he were dropping from the height of LEO (to be clear, I just mean dropping from the height of, not actually being in LEO). For an idea of what kind of heating he could experience, the Concorde apparently got up to around 120 degrees celcius at its nose travelling at Mach 2. That's clearly too hot for bare skin, but it's not much of a problem for an insulated pressure suit for just a few minutes (and it probably wouldn't even be that long), and his goal of Mach 1 will be pretty hard to reach, let alone Mach 2.

Re:air resistance (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773035)

For an idea of what kind of heating he could experience, the Concorde apparently got up to around 120 degrees celcius at its nose travelling at Mach 2.

Concorde's crusing altitude was about 55,000 feet, or 17,000 meters. This guy stepped out at almost twice that altitude, with zero velocity.

Re:air resistance (1)

tragedy (27079) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773329)

Concorde's crusing altitude was about 55,000 feet, or 17,000 meters. This guy stepped out at almost twice that altitude, with zero velocity.

And reached a maximum speed of Mach .75. That wouldn't even generate enough heat to burn bare skin (although obviously you couldn't safely expose bare skin to those conditions). The point is that there's no way he's going to turn into a "brilliant fireball" as the GGP post suggested. A little insulation, which is needed for the cold anyway, and the heat is not a problem. The Concorde example was just to demonstrate a high upper limit on what could possibly be expected for his jump.

Re:air resistance (5, Informative)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#40772669)

3. I understand objects falling from that altitude tend to encounter very little air resistance, which means they pick up a lot of speed. The kind of speed that causes brilliant fireballs to appear in place of anything falling from that height, like asteroids, satellites, and space shuttles.

Not really. Most things that cause brilliant fireballs have a very high initial velocity (and kinetic energy) which must be dissipated when they first reach the atmosphere. This skydiver started with a vertical velocity of zero.

And since the density gradient of the atmosphere is low, a skydiver's air resistance will build up slowly bleeding off this energy gradually.

All that must be done is to bleed off the skydiver's potential energy. For a 115kg (person + gear. I'm pulling figures out of my *ss here) at 29,500m altitude, this is aprox. 32,700 Joules. Dissipated in 630 seconds, this is an average rate of 51 Watts. Warm, but not out of line with being wrapped in an electric blanket.

That same individual hitting the atmosphere at 7750 m/sec (Shuttle re-entry velocity) would have kinetic energy of 3.45E9 Joules. Over 630 seconds this would be 5.5 megawatts, although the 630 second figure does not represent the re-entry time anymore. That time would be less, giving a higher average dissipation rate. And nothing but a few ashes reaching the ground.

Re:air resistance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40772673)

In order for a ballon to reach the edge of space, it doesn't have to be moving at all relative to the earth. In order for the ISS or space shuttle to stay in low earth orbit, it has to be traveling horizontally at ~7 km/sec. This is really fast, above Mach 25 when you graze the top of the atmosphere on reentry. Asteroids typically come in from solar orbits going even faster.

This big difference in speed means that a high altitude sky diver has to dissipate a lot less energy than the space shuttle, and consequently he doesn't need nearly the heat shield that the space shuttle has.

Re:air resistance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40772681)

Space shuttles and asteroids get so hot when reentering the atmosphere not because of the height from which they fall, but from the fact that they are moving ridiculously fast before they even begin to fall (~17,000 mph for low Earth orbit). Now, I think he *is* going to be going more than 1000mph by the time he starts hitting an appreciable amount of atmosphere if he does jump from height he wants. Atmosphere comes in gradually, though, so. I'm not going to do the math to figure how much air resistance he's going to be hitting as a function of height.

Cold, but not as you know it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40772805)

You cannot convect heat directly into a vacuum, so where there is no (or very little) atmosphere you don't actually feel cold (nor do you lose much heat) no matter how cold that thin atmosphere actually is.

You DO still lose heat, through radiation, but that process is quite slow so he won't even notice it during his short exposure.

Re:Cold, but not as you know it... (2)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773271)

It's been postulated more than once that a helmet and tight spandex-like suit (well, more like neoprene than spandex, but those discussing it usually say spandex because of the recognizability of it) could be all that's needed to survive hard vacuum, but little money has been spent on verification. The full NASA suits are insulators, along with so many other functions. It would be interesting to see what would happen with $1,000,000,000 being spent on finding the minimum safe space suit for brief exposure to hard vacuum (brief being 1 hour, no more than once a month).

The billion dollars would be money well spent if it reduced space suits to a $1000 specialized track suit that could be sold as a (semi) functional space suit to the geeks and nerds, simplifying travel in the future.

Re:air resistance (2)

Megane (129182) | more than 2 years ago | (#40772853)

FWIW, the reason re-entry from orbit produces so much heat is that you have to get rid of the horizontal orbital velocity. You could probably retro rocket thrust to get rid of the orbital velocity if you took up enough fuel, but that would be a luxury for anything launched from Earth into orbit on a rocket. This guy is going up in a balloon, so there is no horizontal velocity involved beyond Earth's rotation.

Re:air resistance (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#40772987)

Nasa successfully tested, an inflatable heat shield not to long ago, I imagine something like that could be used.

Velocity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40773019)

Since it's a balloon jump, he'll be starting with zero velocity. He'll only get the acceleration due to gravity starting from zero, and that will be mitigated by air resistance. De-orbiting vehicles slam into the upper atmosphere with much more velocity. Natural meteors are moving even faster. That's why they burn up, and conversely it's why SpaceShipOne didn't require a particularly clever heat shield (although I'm sure it was somewhat of a factor). If SpaceShipOne can reach the top of a parabolic arc in space and come down without burning up, dropping from a balloon at less than half the altitude shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Re:air resistance (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773311)

1. He'll need thermal insulation *after* he gets into reasonably dense atmosphere, not before. The reason is that the loss of heat by radiation (the only mechanism in vacuum) is comparatively slow. Fast air flow, even one of rarefied air, facilitates a much faster heat removal process.

3. The heat given off by a subsonic object can hardly be likened to a falling meteor.

Re:air resistance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40773453)

Please mod this down. It's been mentioned already that this type of jump has been done at a higher altitude.

Fail (4, Funny)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#40772509)

The secret of flying is to throw oneself at the ground - and miss.

Re:Fail (0, Redundant)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 2 years ago | (#40772819)

The secret of flying is to throw oneself at the ground - and miss.

People, people ... PLEASE provide references/citations/URLs for stuff you didn't just make up yourself [extremelysmart.com] .

Great minds fail alike. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40772857)

Who is to say that he didn't just make it up?

Re:Great minds fail alike. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40773093)

I say. It's from Douglas Adams, can't recall which Hitchhiker's Guide book, but definitely one of the four part trilogy. Arthur Dent does indeed fly using this method as he is distracted by something right before hitting the ground and subsequently flies.

The commenter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40773173)

above you is the one. That one's named Crypto Gnome.

Re:Fail (2)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773283)

I heard it prior to the publication of the HGTTG book, so who's to say the first published version was the first version?

Re:Fail (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773555)

Anyone reading /. and not knowing the reference to THHGTTG has to hand in their nerd card and GTFO. For those remaining, providing a reference link is redundant.

Upon landing (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40772517)

Upon landing Mr. Baumgartner simply requested a cigar and fresh undies.

Re:Upon landing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40772833)

and fresh undies...

... which had to be specially made to have room for his enormous balls.

Re:Upon landing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40773065)

He used his old undies to gag your mother while he stuffed the cigar in her arse. The expression on her face was priceless.

Still not the record (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40772533)

According to the article, this jump is still over 6000 feet short of the record of 102,800 feet (31,333 m), which was set in 1960. It seems almost unbelievable that the record has stood for over fifty years.

Re:Still not the record (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#40772817)

According to the article, this jump is still over 6000 feet short of the record of 102,800 feet (31,333 m), which was set in 1960. It seems almost unbelievable that the record has stood for over fifty years.

Still not anywhere near space either. He'll need to go over three times higher before that happens. Balloons won't get you into space anymore than a life jacket can get you airborne.

Going for the record (5, Funny)

Grayhand (2610049) | more than 2 years ago | (#40772677)

Committees from both the Darwin Awards and Guinness will be on hand for the final jump. The Guinness people are hoping for multiple awards at the jump. Highest jump, longest free fall, highest velocity in free fall, longest scream in free fall, highest speed a human ever impacted the ground and greatest distance human remains were spread after impact.

Re:Going for the record (2)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 2 years ago | (#40772895)

longest scream in free fall

Clearly this is why he's not actually going into space.

In Space No-One Can hear You Scream.

Although, to be really picky, his scream will be really short. Given that he'll be wearing a fully-enclosed helmet I'd guestimate something approximating a couple of inches.

Not Really Freefall (Physics Lesson) (3, Informative)

jaa101 (627731) | more than 2 years ago | (#40772793)

Freefall strictly speaking means 9.8m/s/s which, after 228 seconds, multiplies out to 5000mph. That's an order of magnitude more than Baumgartner's speed. Wikipedia explains:

"The example of a falling skydiver who has not yet deployed a parachute is not considered free fall from a physics perspective, since they experience a drag force which equals their weight once they have achieved terminal velocity (see below). However, the term "free fall skydiving" is commonly used to describe this case in everyday speech, and in the skydiving community."

Still, terminal velocity for a human at sea level is about 120mph which is 4.5 times slower than the quoted 536mph. Taking the square root gives an atmospheric pressure 2.1 times less than normal which translates to him popping the 'chute at about 25,000. Actually he had a pressure suit which would probably slow him down so it could have been higher than that.

Re:Not Really Freefall (Physics Lesson) (4, Informative)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773297)

It is really free fall, as this is a parachuting act, and the parachuting terminology would trump the physics terminology. Or do you go ape shit every time someone calls a cash register a "register" in a store and you pontificate about CPU architecture?

Anyone remember Joseph Kittinger? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40772889)

I dont get the point on this since if you've ever seen the documovie the right stuff, you'd know the united states sent an air force pilot well here:
On August 16, 1960, as research for a then-fledgling U.S. space program, Air Force Captain Joseph Kittinger rode his Excelsior III helium balloon to the edge of space, 102,800 feet above the earth -- a feat in itself. Then, wearing just a thin pressure suit and breathing supplemental oxygen, he leaned over the cramped confines of his gondola and jumped -- into the 110-degree-below-zero near-vacuum of space. Within seconds his body accelerated to over 600 mph in the thin air, approaching the sound barrier. After free-falling for more than four and a half minutes, slowed finally by friction from the heavier air below, he felt his parachute open at 14,000 feet, and he coasted gently down to the New Mexico desert floor.

We are catching up to the 1960s... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40773029)

On Aug. 16, 1960, US military Col. Kittinger stepped from a balloon-supported gondola at the altitude of 102,800 feet to test the use of a parachute for escape from a space capsule or high-altitude aircraft. In free-fall for 4.5 minutes at speeds up to 614 mph and temperatures as low as -94 degrees Fahrenheit, Col. Kittinger opened his parachute at 18,000 feet.

The jump set records that still stand today: the highest ascent in a balloon, the highest parachute jump, the longest free-fall, and the fastest speed by a man through the atmosphere.

Video of the story [youtube.com]

We are catching up to the 1960s... (1, Redundant)

Mr. White (22990) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773043)

On Aug. 16, 1960, US military Col. Kittinger stepped from a balloon-supported gondola at the altitude of 102,800 feet to test the use of a parachute for escape from a space capsule or high-altitude aircraft. In free-fall for 4.5 minutes at speeds up to 614 mph and temperatures as low as -94 degrees Fahrenheit, Col. Kittinger opened his parachute at 18,000 feet.

The jump set records that still stand today: the highest ascent in a balloon, the highest parachute jump, the longest free-fall, and the fastest speed by a man through the atmosphere.

Video of the story [youtube.com]

Hope he's not wearing a Red Shirt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40773675)

when he takes the plunge. Command Gold or Science Blue is safer.

Re:Hope he's not wearing a Red Shirt (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#40773801)

Not sure about the shirt - but he's definitely wearing brown pants.

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