Sunday, September 05, 2010

Two men compete to skydive from space

From near-space, anyway. Since USAF Colonel Joe Kittinger parachuted from 102,800 feet 50 years ago, no one has been able to break that record. At least two men have died in the attempt. Before this year is out, two more men will make their attempts. Both plan to rise in helium-filled balloons to 120,000 feet and then step out of their capsules and fall. The successful jumper (if there is one) will be the first human to break the sound barrier without a machine around him. Are rivals Felix Baumgartner and Michel Fournier displaying courage or insanity? No one knows what going through the sound barrier will be like: it could be gentle or deadly.
COMMENT: I don't know where that line between courage and insanity falls, but, like most people, I have a fascination with people willing to hang their lives on the line for the sake of a record. I'll be watching this story.

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