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Space Diving: Iron Man Meets Star Trek Suit In Development

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the someday-soon dept.

Space 133

cylonlover writes "Science fiction may well become reality with the development of a real life Iron Man suit that would allow astronauts or extreme thrill seekers to space dive from up to 62 miles (100 km) above the Earth's surface at the very edge of space, and safely land using thruster boots instead of a parachute. Hi-tech inventors over at Solar System Express (Sol-X) and biotech designers Juxtopia LLC (JLLC) are collaborating on this project with a goal of releasing a production model of such a suit by 2016. The project will use a commercial space suit to which will be added augmented reality (AR) goggles, jet packs, power gloves and movement gyros."

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Just threw in random ST reference (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43857427)

...in case nobody wants to read it. ...and in case we thought you were a real Trek fan, not a fan of the recent epic fails.

Re:Just threw in random ST reference (5, Informative)

Jake Dodgie (53046) | about a year ago | (#43857443)

Re just in case nobody want to read this they actually did a bit of research

From the article..
So where have we seen this before? If you are a Trekker, you will remember the scenes from 2009's Star Trek (The Future Begins) where James T. Kirk, Hikaru Sulu and Chief Engineer Olson performed a space dive to the Narada's drill platform. They jumped from a shuttle craft above planet Vulcan wearing high tech suits and used parachutes to land on the rig. “Super” Trekkers will also know about the space dive scene cut from the 1998 Star Trek Generations movie and the holodeck simulated "orbital skydiving" in Star Trek Voyager (Episode 5x03), also in 1998.

So more than just a headline reference to suck in the readers.

Re:Just threw in random ST reference (1)

The Pea! (323436) | about a year ago | (#43858287)

Also, Spock uses rocket boots to save Kirk from a free-climbing fall.

Re:Just threw in random ST reference (2)

geekmux (1040042) | about a year ago | (#43858471)

Re just in case nobody want to read this they actually did a bit of research

From the article.. So where have we seen this before? If you are a Trekker, you will remember the scenes from 2009's Star Trek (The Future Begins) where James T. Kirk, Hikaru Sulu and Chief Engineer Olson...

...also known as the Expendable One in the red suit...(I started laughing like crazy when I saw this the first time, for I knew if they kept to tradition, he was as good as dead.)

Re:Just threw in random ST reference (-1)

Salgak1 (20136) | about a year ago | (#43858813)

And, of course, Engineer Olson was in the RED space suit, and thus, sealed his fate. And it was over EARTH, not Vulcan. Turn in your Spock ears. . .

Re: Just threw in random ST reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43859551)

Guess you better watch the movie again. It was over Vulcan not Earth.

Re: Just threw in random ST reference (1)

Meyaht (2729603) | about a year ago | (#43860059)

iirc Spock shot the one over earth with the future ship.the dive was over Vulcan.

Re:Just threw in random ST reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43857463)

References with the wrong dates, too.

As for what counts as Space Diving, I didn't think further development of what Baumgartner would get the 'gee-whiz' treatment. It's certainly dangerous and likely wonderfully exciting, but I was expecting them to start talking about the prospects of orbital dives, about trying to fashion suits to withstands thousands of degrees (of any heat measure) for entering at orbital velocities. Especially when they're mentioning having thrusters and gyroscopes on the suit.

Why does the design include boot thrusters for landing? What is unacceptable about parachutes?

Re:Just threw in random ST reference (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year ago | (#43858161)

I'm not really a trekkie, but you know what, I am really enjoying the latest movies.

Re:Just threw in random ST reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43858531)

They're enjoyable movies, but in the beginning ST was definitively not fantasy set in the future, whereas the critic (of all new incarnations of ST ever, actually) is that it loses this quality.

Re: Just threw in random ST reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43860767)

Early Star Trek was a documentary?

Re:Just threw in random ST reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43860127)

Imagine that.

I never thought I'd see the day when I would be coming down on other people for liking Star Trek. That said, since this isn't Star Trek, I guess we're good.

Two? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43857437)

...to which will be added augmented reality (AR) goggles, jet packs, power gloves and movement gyros.
I'd love the power gloves– they're so bad.

Re:Two? (1)

drainbramage (588291) | about a year ago | (#43857509)

Not two.
However, I'd rather strap on the servo mitts and pit my metal; against common household utensils.
Or something like that, but then I think we're all Bozo's on this bus.

Re:Two? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43859053)

Not two. However, I'd rather strap on the servo mitts and pit my metal; against common household utensils.

You'd probably ruin your household utensils, I think a chemical method would work better. Why do you want your metal pitted anyway? Generally a smooth metallic surface is preferred.

Re:Two? (1)

wylf (657051) | about a year ago | (#43860575)

Sounds like you want Kryten, vacuum cleaner attachment style

Re:Two? (1)

clemdoc (624639) | about a year ago | (#43858943)

AR goggles for an enhanced splash screen?

Not Exactly Iron Man Yet... (1)

ilikenwf (1139495) | about a year ago | (#43857441)

I understand their efforts to relate it to the Iron Man and Star Trek suits, and while this may contribute to the development thereof, it's not quite there yet...and I think it's nuts, but would be fun if the freefall works.

I'm waiting for nanotube muscle fibers that, with EEG, operate as a part of the body. From there, armor and flight capabilities.

Re:Not Exactly Iron Man Yet... (5, Interesting)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#43858093)

Nanofibre? Sure, but I want to use them to create a hybrid organic / inorganic mental lattice. My current brain can then interact with the additional brain power and more and more power can be added. Hopefully by the time my organic cells are old and dying it will be a mere fraction of the total mind and be redundantly duplicated across the neural network from recalling the memories. Bodies? Where I'm going, I don't need bodies. Why jump to the ground from space when I can just control a remote avatar wirelessly from the rim of the planet's gravity well?

Some people watched star trek and wanted to be the captain or engineer... I wanted to be the ship.

Re:Not Exactly Iron Man Yet... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43858711)

I hear you. It's good to know I'm not the only one. Although I extend that to being a borg of only one entity. Your distinctiveness is not necessary, you will NOT be assimilated! Imagine not having one body, but as many miriad forms as your imagination, engineering and environmental requirements allow. I would like to float in the magnetoshere of the sun, crawl into the Earths mantle, surf on a wave of liquid methane. There is such a huge universe out there and I want to experience it all.

Re:Not Exactly Iron Man Yet... (1)

growlingchaos (767426) | about a year ago | (#43858729)

You, sir, have won all my mod points from now to... eternity.

Re:Not Exactly Iron Man Yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43858779)

and be redundantly duplicated across the neural network from recalling the memories.

That's not how neural nets work!

It's halfway between what you think it is, and a hologram. If you take away a part, most memories will just become less detailed/sharp. which means some details will of course be gone.

But my point is: There is no such thing as redundancy in neural networks. The word doesn't even apply to the concept!

Re:Not Exactly Iron Man Yet... (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | about a year ago | (#43859087)

No actually you don't know if memories will become less sharp or detailed. A neural map self-organizes the weights and thus if you take out one set of weights you get a new neural net. This means you will get some old memories, but also many new memories. The problem is that you will not be able to distinguish between the two as it all appears to be one set of memories. BTW what the new memories are you will not be able to control. I would chalk this up to, "oh I saw God and this is what he said to me." And no I am not kidding or being sarcastic. These new memories could very well be so out in left field that you would think it was God speaking to you.

Re:Not Exactly Iron Man Yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43858919)

Nanofibre? The newest material in Reeboks!

Re:Not Exactly Iron Man Yet... (1)

Malaak (1093915) | about a year ago | (#43860107)

Just in case you did not know them already: You might be interested in reading Iain M. Banks Culter novels. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_(The_Culture) [wikipedia.org]

Re:Not Exactly Iron Man Yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43860299)

Nanofibre? Sure, but I want to use them to create a hybrid organic / inorganic mental lattice. My current brain can then interact with the additional brain power and more and more power can be added. Hopefully by the time my organic cells are old and dying it will be a mere fraction of the total mind and be redundantly duplicated across the neural network from recalling the memories.

I'm all for extending the mind in exactly the way you describe, but unfortunately once that little lump of flesh fails so will your consciousness. All that will be left in that extended neural net is a bunch of abstract patterns and processes, none of which are capable of experiencing reality in any way or of even caring.

Re:Not Exactly Iron Man Yet... (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43858605)

The landing would only need short-lived, computer-controlled rockets, possibly just the same things as the jet packs from the 1950s, nased on hudrogen peroxide.

There's a ton of engineering that has to go into this first, so if they realize it, expect to see many, many test flights taking off from the ground first, and that it will work without a human inside.

Re:Not Exactly Iron Man Yet... (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about a year ago | (#43859521)

Actually, we are there. We could build a space dive suit right now (or about a year down the line with sufficient funding once all the engineering legwork is done). It's just not that tough to get down from 100 kilometers. You really don't have all that much energy to dissipate. Just make a suit with locking joints to prevent the wearer's limbs from being broken off, use a cryogenic oxygen tank to cool the suit as it boils off, and you're golden. Now being at 100km with an initial velocity of 8.5km/s is a different matter entirely. The only way we could do that with our current technology is some form of breakaway re-entry pod.

Er... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43857453)

"Space dive"? Not from orbital velocity, you're not. Is this another sub-orbital thrill ride masquerading as sci-fi level "space travel" for uncritical mental midgets? All I see so far is crappy generic CGI, which makes this about as reliable as the sales brochure for an unbuilt condo.

Vaporware (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43857455)

Vaporware is exactly what this is. The red bull team spent years designing and prepping for their suit, and it was a one off. These guys are going to have a suit production ready by 2016? Hogwash.

Re:Vaporware (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43857621)

But but but private space 3D asteroid mining is just around the corner! You Luddite!

Re:Vaporware (1)

tgd (2822) | about a year ago | (#43858917)

Vaporware is exactly what this is. The red bull team spent years designing and prepping for their suit, and it was a one off. These guys are going to have a suit production ready by 2016? Hogwash.

Well, to be fair, it was mostly an issue of the capsule, money and not working full time on it. Space suits aren't rocket science. At 60 miles up, starting at a dead stop, you're not going to deal with things like friction heating to any great extent. You just need a pressure suit. That's not the interesting part of what Red Bull did, or what these folks are dong.

Now, if they were going full on Halo ODST style "jump from low orbit", where they're going 15k mph to start... that's a whole different kind of requirements.

Re:Vaporware (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43860403)

Nice that the guy in the video redefined "low earth orbit" as well. That would still require a velocity of over 9000m/s which I think is beyond the possibility of a "platform". Also I think the reentry at this velocity would be tricky and might be a little warmer than the figure claimed in the video.

Essentially the video is seems to be a sales pitch with no actual real life qualities at all.

Re:Vaporware (1)

Thruen (753567) | about a year ago | (#43860739)

These guys are going to have a suit production ready by 2016?

Nope. FTA:

Testing the suit at altitude should begin around July of 2016 with 1.25 mile-high (2 km) parachute jumps from a helium balloon and tethered tower. No firm dates have been set for suborbital and orbital testing

So they're hoping to be able to test it in a few years at a lower altitude than either their goal or the Red Bull jump. And they're planning to use a robot for it, too. So they don't even have a date when they expect to have a human jump in this suit, let alone a goal of being ready for production by 2016. How did you even get modded up? And as insightful? RTFA people.

The fall...check...landing...what? (1, Interesting)

alelade (905619) | about a year ago | (#43857457)

Seems like vaporware to me, it seems to take every precaution they can think to survive the trip but no mention of the actual energy required to make a safe landing form that altitude. Jet boots need fuel and no parachute is mentioned.

Re:The fall...check...landing...what? (4, Insightful)

techno-vampire (666512) | about a year ago | (#43857663)

Jet boots need fuel..

Lots and lots of fuel if you're going to make a safe landing at that speed. By the time you add in all the extra space needed for all of that fuel, gyros to keep you properly oriented and enough shielding to protect you on the way down, you have a landing boat, not a suit.

Re: The fall...check...landing...what? (1)

Jakeula (1427201) | about a year ago | (#43857729)

Well if something like the E-Cat can make serious strides within the next few years, that might solve some power issues. If... http://www.forbes.com/sites/markgibbs/2013/05/20/finally-independent-testing-of-rossis-e-cat-cold-fusion-device-maybe-the-world-will-change-after-all/ [forbes.com]

Re: The fall...check...landing...what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43857851)

Sure and if your Grandma had wings we wouldn't need jet airplanes. Grow up.

Re: The fall...check...landing...what? (0)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about a year ago | (#43859071)

Has cold fusion been thoroughly debunked though? I'm as skeptical as the next guy, and see this E-Cat as yet another ego-stroking dead-end, but I'm not going to totally rule out cold fusion just yet.

Re: The fall...check...landing...what? (1)

Jakeula (1427201) | about a year ago | (#43860267)

I too am skeptical, and await more independent tests. But currently the E-Cat is looking to be the most promising project in cold fusion. we definitely need more tests, and more data!! Only time will tell if this is just ego-stroking, or the real deal.

Re:The fall...check...landing...what? (4, Interesting)

tp1024 (2409684) | about a year ago | (#43858057)

Actually, you need surprisingly little fuel.

Even for a modest exhaust velocity of 2000m/s of the rocket and a terminal velocity of 100m/s (the atmosphere does most of the breaking for you anyway), only about 5% of the total mass need to be fuel to land. That's about 20kg of fuel for a total mass of 300kg of the whole rig including the shaved ape. There's also a healthy safety margin for hovering and fooling around before touchdown, especially if you use somewhat better rocket fuel. (2000m/s isn't all that great).

Re:The fall...check...landing...what? (1)

tgd (2822) | about a year ago | (#43858927)

Jet boots need fuel..

Lots and lots of fuel if you're going to make a safe landing at that speed. By the time you add in all the extra space needed for all of that fuel, gyros to keep you properly oriented and enough shielding to protect you on the way down, you have a landing boat, not a suit.

What speed?

Terminal velocity for something person-shaped is about 120mph. You'll build up some higher speed when you're higher in the atmosphere, but you'll bleed most of it in the low atmosphere. You're not having to stop a ton of weight from more than a couple hundred miles an hour.

Re:The fall...check...landing...what? (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | about a year ago | (#43859941)

Terminal velocity for something person-shaped is about 120mph.

Is that terminal velocity for somebody spread out flat, or somebody coming down feet first? It can make a big difference.

Re:The fall...check...landing...what? (1)

Thruen (753567) | about a year ago | (#43860627)

Terminal velocity for something person-shaped is about 120mph.

FTA:

In real life we have Felix Baumgartner, an Austrian skydiver, daredevil and BASE jumper who set a world record for skydiving an estimated 24.24 miles (39 km), reaching a speed of 843.6 mph (1,357.64 km/h), or Mach 1.25, on October 14, 2012.

So no. Actually the figure you mention, if I recall correctly, is based on reports from skydivers while spread out to catch wind and minimize speed. I'm not an expert, but it seems to me calculating the terminal velocity of a person depends on too many variables to be very accurate. If one wore an outfit meant to maximize speed for skydiving, not unlike what they use in skiing, I'd imagine you could reach even higher speeds.

Re:The fall...check...landing...what? (1)

necro81 (917438) | about a year ago | (#43859365)

By the time you add in all the extra space needed for all of that fuel, gyros to keep you properly oriented and enough shielding to protect you on the way down, you have a landing boat, not a suit

That was my reaction, too. Ironman is only slightly plausible once you suspend your disbelief about the mini arc reactor Tony Stark has stuck in his chest. In order to provide enough thrust for him to fly that suit supersonic, it would need megawatts of continuous power from, essentially, no fuel mass. Oh, and the reactor needs to produce essentially no waste heat, otherwise it would cauterize his vital organs. But, hell, if you've got a nearly 100% efficient, miniature, multi-megawatt power source, anything's possible.

So, anybody got a mini arc reactor lying around? No? OK, then: I guess this idea is shit outta luck.

Re:The fall...check...landing...what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43859835)

Well, if you have actual boots, then you're in a landing boat anyway. Like people that "walk" on water with giant pontoons, the feet have a problem of being far from your center of gravity. And if you want to put thrust from them, you're going to blow out your knees.

Re:The fall...check...landing...what? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43857867)

Seems like vaporware to me, it seems to take every precaution they can think to survive the trip but no mention of the actual energy required to make a safe landing form that altitude. Jet boots need fuel and no parachute is mentioned.

well if they're unable to provide a method to go to 100km for jumping in affordable fashion, it doesn't matter what the shit is that they promise to go with the suit as long as they get someone to pay for the lunches in the meantime.

the booster idea is stupid.

yes, it would be very fun to jump from 100km, but why bother with booster landing??? like what the fuck? if you want a booster party trick, first make it work by jumping off a choppre. or heck, make it work for crash landing choppers and planes.

Re:The fall...check...landing...what? (1)

hlavac (914630) | about a year ago | (#43858535)

100km would be doable using a balloon, considering you do not need the velocity to reach orbit, quite opposite you want to fall down quite close to where you started....

Re:The fall...check...landing...what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43858761)

100km would not be doable with a balloon in the foreseeable future. The altitude record for an ultrathin-film _unmanned_ balloon is around 53km: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_altitude_record

Spacediving will require some form of suborbital rocket vehicle, as seen in this CG short by Kyle Botha: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrlIB1rzlZs

Re:The fall...check...landing...what? (1)

tgd (2822) | about a year ago | (#43858929)

100km would not be doable with a balloon in the foreseeable future. The altitude record for an ultrathin-film _unmanned_ balloon is around 53km: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_altitude_record [wikipedia.org]

Spacediving will require some form of suborbital rocket vehicle, as seen in this CG short by Kyle Botha: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrlIB1rzlZs [youtube.com]

I'll just put this out there: More than happy to pay to do that. I don't care about the other 50km. Baby steps.

Re:The fall...check...landing...what? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#43858689)

"as long as they get someone to pay for the lunches in the meantime."

I am sure that if you buy the suit they will pay for your lunches.

What do you prefer Pastrami or chicken?

Sign me up! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43857459)

I don't see how this could possibly end badly.

Welcome to Lebanon, PA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43857467)

Pure Amish country, we have a lot of fresh baloney here, try a free sample! But not as much baloney as this absurd slashvertisement blogosphere link doohickey!

melting your leg off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43857547)

If the astronaut moved her/his leg the wrong way, it could be melted off by the jets. Then what will (s)he do?

Re:melting your leg off (1)

arth1 (260657) | about a year ago | (#43857577)

If the astronaut moved her/his leg the wrong way, it could be melted off by the jets. Then what will (s)he do?

Why, scream, of course.
But as we all know, in space, no one ....

The problem, in my limited understanding, is that any "suit" sturdy enough to support re-entry will in reality be a capsule. Even if it has dividers for arms and legs. With today's technology, it's going to be a far cry from "free flight", and more like going over the Niagara falls in a steel barrel. Some would want to, but I doubt it would be very enjoyable.

Re:melting your leg off (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#43858213)

It's not really "re-entry", 61 miles is at the "edge of space" rather than in space. In fact the original spacesuits for the Mercury project were tested by some guy in a helium balloon floating at a similar height. There was no way to land the balloon so he made a planned parachute jump while still wearing the suit. Even though he had to free fall for over 90% of the drop his velocity peaked around the speed of sound, which is pretty fast for a parachuting but still way to slow to burn up. The only thing novel about this project are the jet packs, but they've been promising those for a long time.

Safety Precautions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43857565)

So, what happens if one or both legs fail? By the time it is needed to power the boosters, a parachute would probably already have been deployed for a safe landing. If not, then whats the benefit. What are the backup measures in place?

Re:Safety Precautions (1)

plover (150551) | about a year ago | (#43859627)

So, what happens if one or both legs fail? By the time it is needed to power the boosters, a parachute would probably already have been deployed for a safe landing. If not, then whats the benefit. What are the backup measures in place?

A big tarp with a hay bale in the middle. The hay bale is to arrest the fall of the jumper. The tarp makes the inevitable outcome easier to clean up.

Augmented reality? (4, Funny)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about a year ago | (#43857569)

You're hurtling to your demise at past the speed of sound in atmospheric conditions that would literally make your blood boil. How much more extra sense of realism and stimulation do you need at that point?

Re:Augmented reality? (1)

Meyaht (2729603) | about a year ago | (#43860075)

Laughed out loud at work on this one

Safety consideration (3, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43857615)

If you can have a parachute, why not include a parachute? I'd consider retroboosters as the backup system, not the primary, for safety. By the time you're close enough to the ground to fire them, the parachute is no longer an option, so if they fail, you get about 3 seconds to contemplate your own stupidity before cratering.

A company that can provide two layers of life-saving security and yet only manufactures one should be charged with manslaughter, but instead we're allowing it because it caters to thrillseekers? Where was this kind of logic during the anti-smoking campaigns of yesteryear? "Smoking is okay; it's a thrill-seeking behavior!" Yeah.... okay, sure.

Re:Safety consideration (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43857667)

A libertarian you are not. Explain to me how the company is guilty of criminal negligence (in your mind) if they don't add the maximum amount of bubble wrap, etc, even if all users are fully informed of the risks and opt to engage in the activity regardless.

Your way of thinking leads to a nanny state where freedom is curtailed. Let people engage in risky behavior if they are cognizant of the risks and alternatives. Freedom to fail is one of the most fundamental of freedoms. Let people compete for a Darwin Award if they so deliberately choose.

And yes, for the record, I'm in favor of allowing people to smoke if they so choose. It's not like anyone is uninformed of the risks at this juncture.

Furthermore, your "mandatory ultimate safety" advocacy is a slippery slope. I liked this country better before people like you led campaigns to ban high dives at pools, kids playing dodgeball during PE, Jarts, Buckyball magnets, etc, etc, etc.

Re:Safety consideration (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43857823)

A libertarian you are not. Explain to me how the company is guilty of criminal negligence (in your mind) if they don't add the maximum amount of bubble wrap, etc, even if all users are fully informed of the risks and opt to engage in the activity regardless.

Probably for the same reason that automotive companies resisted including airbags, seat belts, etc. until the government forced them into compliance; Because corporations will never make something safe unless they're forced to. Harken back to the beginning of the industrial revolution when workers routinely fell into spinning equipment and were mangled. There was no OSHA then, there was no social security, there was no unemployment insurance... you got eaten by the machine and lost your arm? Too. Fucking. Bad.

Your way of thinking leads to a nanny state where freedom is curtailed.

The freedom to go crashing through your windshield? The freedom to take unneccessarily unsafe and dangerous jobs for a pittance? The freedom to fly in an airplane that hasn't been properly maintained and explodes mid-flight?

Let people engage in risky behavior if they are cognizant of the risks and alternatives.

Drunk driving should be legal, says internet pundit, film at 11.

Freedom to fail is one of the most fundamental of freedoms.

So when all those banks failed and imploded the economy, it was their right? They were just excercising their freedom and liberty from the responsibility to others?

Furthermore, your "mandatory ultimate safety" advocacy is a slippery slope. I liked this country better before people like you led campaigns to ban high dives at pools, kids playing dodgeball during PE, Jarts, Buckyball magnets, etc, etc, etc.

Take THAT straw man [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Safety consideration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43857985)

Yes, I believe I should have the freedom to do all of these things you listed if I so choose and if I am informed of the risks and if I accept the penalties for any damages I cause others or their property (if applicable). Also, workers traded their right to sue for workplace injuries in return for the mandatory worker's comp laws. Yes, that's a simplification, but that was the general idea.

As for the banks, you made two mistaken assumptions: first, corporations shouldn't be considered people (if they should be allowed to exist as entities at all) and second, they should have been allowed to fail. Being a pragmatic libertarian, I accept that some minimal regulation is required to prevent banks from becoming "too large to fail" in the first place. As it stands, they have perverse incentives to engage in risk knowing they will be bailed out or their deadman trigger will kill the economy. This is a tangent, though.

You failed to explain why someone should be disallowed from using this device as it is designed—without a nanny parachute primary—if they so choose. Note that no one is coercing *you* to use it against your will. Why can't you return the favor and not meddle by restricting others' free choices? For example, it's "nice" that my car has airbags "I guess", but the same government that mandates them has taken away my freedom to have the driver's side airbag disabled if I so choose (feel free to google the regs if you disbelieve me)... I dislike this on principle. I also don't want a rearview camera on my next car, but the government has forced that on me as well.

I will accept your allegations that I incorrectly lumped you with "the banners of anything fun that has any risk whatsoever" if you provide a bright line delineating what is acceptable discretionary risk. You already said you want to eliminate people's freedom to engage in this particular risky behavior, but apparently you're fine with, say, high dives at pools (this statement can't be simultaneously a strawman and untrue)—ZOMG! an activity has a nonzero risk of death or serious injury!

What's your objective threshold for risks you believe the government should "allow" people to choose to experience, then?

Re:Safety consideration (1)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | about a year ago | (#43858273)

Your position is predicated on the idea that everyone is capable of making suitable judgements about such things themselves. The vast majority of people are not sufficiently informed to make the decisions you speak of, especially considering that issues of safety involve making a decision not only for yourself but also on behalf of everyone else surrounding you during the activity.

Selfish and recalcitrant much?

Re:Safety consideration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43859107)

Your position is predicated on the idea that everyone is capable of making suitable judgements about such things themselves. The vast majority of people are not sufficiently informed to make the decisions you speak of, especially considering that issues of safety involve making a decision not only for yourself but also on behalf of everyone else surrounding you during the activity.

Selfish and recalcitrant much?

"The vast majority of people are not sufficiently informed..." But you of course,have the all-encompassing knowledge and wisdom to know what's best for everyone.

Elitist much?

Re:Safety consideration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43860265)

It's not necessary to know what is best for everyone in order to justify mandating sensible security precautions from industries with no other incentive to improve safety. This is especially so when your own stupidity affects others beyond your sphere of self-importance -- crashing into a living room at terminal velocity, for instance.

You are, of course, "free" to disable these safety features on your own, and while it may be a violation of standing regulations, you run virtually zero risk of being slapped with a penalty. So, cut off the parachute; strip out your airbags; tape over your backup camera... just realize that you are surrendering any legal standing you would otherwise have when you hurt or kill somebody else or damage another's property.

Re:Safety consideration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43858381)

And yes, for the record, I'm in favor of allowing people to smoke if they so choose. It's not like anyone is uninformed of the risks at this juncture.

It's almost as though some central body evaluated the evidence and used a small amount of money collected from each individual to evaluate and then inform people of a risk they were hitherto unaware of.

Re:Safety consideration (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43858565)

what they're promising should be more in the fraud category..

Re:Safety consideration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43857735)

What do you have against stupid people dying?

Re:Safety consideration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43858411)

> Smoking is okay; it's a thrill-seeking behavior

Never heard of that. Smoking is OK as it is healthily, fun, makes you look cool. But never "thrill seeking".

Re:Safety consideration (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year ago | (#43858413)

Makes sense. Also, using the parachute as primary braking system would allow for less fuel for boosters, making the entire thing more plausible and manageable, as well as safer.

While they were at it, why not also include wingsuit capabilities?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wingsuit_flying [wikipedia.org]

Although it should be noted that jumps from this height have not been so ambitious, if that is the right word...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felix_Baumgartner [wikipedia.org]

I'm pretty sure that if anyone could have done this with added rockets, wingsuits and head-mounted lasers it would have been Red Bull & Felix.

Re:Safety consideration (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about a year ago | (#43858569)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felix_Baumgartner [wikipedia.org]

I'm pretty sure that if anyone could have done this with added rockets, wingsuits and head-mounted lasers it would have been Red Bull & Felix.

And I'm also pretty sure that the concept of oneupmanship still exists (says the design engineer who thinks parachutes are "boring")

Also, Felix's goal was not to soar like a bird in a wingsuit. He was going for several world records that had more to do with height and free-fall that had been set decades earlier, by the very man who mentored him for this challenge.

Re:Safety consideration (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about a year ago | (#43858553)

A company that can provide two layers of life-saving security and yet only manufactures one should be charged with manslaughter, but instead we're allowing it because it caters to thrillseekers? Where was this kind of logic during the anti-smoking campaigns of yesteryear? "Smoking is okay; it's a thrill-seeking behavior!" Yeah.... okay, sure.

So, should we charge hand chalk companies with manslaughter because some thrillseeker decides to free climb a mountain in Yosemite park instead of also purchasing and using at least 2 ropes, 4 carabiners, and 17 points of connection on the mountain face?

Do you step on a commercial airline with a parachute strapped to your back? Should we sue the airlines for not providing one?

It's also odd that you would question the backup safety system while many would question the concept of jumping from space in the first place, which most would consider "insane" regardless of the safety system(s) involved.

Re:Safety consideration (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#43858673)

"Do you step on a commercial airline with a parachute strapped to your back? Should we sue the airlines for not providing one?"

The speeds and altitudes that airliners fly at, you will die exiting the aircraft. Unless you have one that has a clear belly exit stairwell, you will be smashed against the side of the plane several times.

Delta does not supply them because 90% of the passengers will die either exiting the plane or upon impact with the ground because they are not trained in a jump.

Lastly, I dont know of any aircraft emergencies that have an hour of warning for everyone to orderly leave the aircraft, except for the mini bar running out of Vodka.

Re:Safety consideration (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year ago | (#43858867)

A commercial aircraft flight does not, by design, have a flight vector which is both perpendicular to the earth and occurring at terminal velocity just before initiating the landing sequence. Anyone with flight design experience knows that you never rely on a single point failure for a safety condition (thruster firing). In the rare instance where such a condition is unavoidable, it undergoes intense scrutiny and is generally only acceptable if alternatives which provide redundancy significantly increase the probability of failure.

Then again, we could use a few less rich, stupid people in the world.

Re:Safety consideration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43859457)

You're not selling the mountain.

If you're selling the mountain with the intent to have someone climb it, toss in some rope.

One question... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43857645)

How'd you solve the icing problem?

Re:One question... (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#43858109)

How'd you solve the icing problem?

You didn't get the memo? The cake was a lie.

Re:One question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43858491)

Switched to a Titanium-Gold alloy

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43857683)

Why do they want to do this again?

bull (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43857707)

buuuuullshit

Sizes? (1, Funny)

Mistakill (965922) | about a year ago | (#43857795)

Does it come in 3XL or bigger?

Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43857845)

Did anyone else read the headline and assume it was going to have something to do with a lawsuit in the making?

Risky breaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43858105)

Just remember to point your feet the right way when you land or you make quite a deep hole.

When asked for comment (1, Funny)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#43858395)

Felix Baumgartner adjusted his scarf and cleaned his horn rimmed glasses before mumbling something about space jumping before it got popular.

Re:When asked for comment (1)

g253 (855070) | about a year ago | (#43858819)

That was an awesome jump and all, but he about a third of the way to space. He jumped from the sky, this would allow one to jump from space. Different.

And it will never exist. (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#43858653)

Land using rocket boots. Nope. 90% death rate for that one. the Human body does NOT have the strength to handle controlling and vectoring thrust with the legs. Anyone trying this will simply die. And it's a very stupid idea. A parachute works great, I'd rather have that than a giant tank of rocket fuel on my back.

Re:And it will never exist. (1)

dj245 (732906) | about a year ago | (#43859747)

Land using rocket boots. Nope. 90% death rate for that one. the Human body does NOT have the strength to handle controlling and vectoring thrust with the legs. Anyone trying this will simply die. And it's a very stupid idea. A parachute works great, I'd rather have that than a giant tank of rocket fuel on my back.

Do they have to have extraordinary strength? If the deceleration from ~120mph to 0 (or near 0) takes 25-27 seconds, that is only about 2g. Most people who are in good condition could probably handle that. If you are going to all the trouble of making rocket boots, you might as well go to the extra trouble of putting the thrust controlling and vectoring in the boots. Its still a terrible idea but I believe it is a possible idea.

Looks more ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43858847)

... like the armor of Samus from Metroid.

Not about to try this until... (1)

Loki_1929 (550940) | about a year ago | (#43859331)

Until Elon Musk starts a company to do this, I'll consider it basically suicide. When Elon Musk tells me it can be done and he puts together something that can do it, I'll sign up in a heartbeat.

Click......click click click! (1)

froth-bite (2777385) | about a year ago | (#43860019)

"I see you are trying to start the thruster boots, would you like help with that?"

What no Diaper? (1)

BetaDays (2355424) | about a year ago | (#43860103)

n/t

I dont understand ... (1)

tkjtkj (577219) | about a year ago | (#43860255)

riight.. I can't grasp the 62 mi. altitude limit ... Surely the enironment at that altitude is essentially the same as at 300 miles, no? I mean, if ya wanna thriLLL GO for it! Oxygen, etc, should not be a problem .. nor can i think of any other safety issue more far-fetched than the project itself (other than the stupid 'boot thruster' idea!)

Summary is incorrect (2)

Wormsign (1498995) | about a year ago | (#43860277)

"safely land using thruster boots instead of a parachute" Completely incorrect. According to the article and video [vimeo.com] , the suit will use not one, but TWO parachutes. As for the boots, they are not really "Iron Man" type thrusters, but simply for ensuring a smoother parachute-assisted landing (and probably mainly to look cool): From the article: "The other main function of the diver’s gyroscopic boots will kick in as he nears the surface of the Earth and he fires off his miniature in-built aerospike thrusters to gently descend to the ground for a feet-first perfect landing. " This is AFTER both parachutes have deployed. It seems like window dressing to me.

Bailing out from 300,000 feet (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | about a year ago | (#43860641)

A concept illustrated by Lee J. Ames from the 1959 book "Man’s Reach Into Space" by Roy A. Gallant. http://mfwright.com/spacebailout.html [mfwright.com]

Earth Dive? (1)

cyberchondriac (456626) | about a year ago | (#43860911)

"Space dive" to me sounds like a process whereby one dives into space, not from out of it, but I'm probably being semantically pedantic.
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