This story pops in and out of the popular press about once a year, so it’s definitely one of those “oh yeah, I forgot about that” topics. With that, I figured a refresher would be appropriate being as the next big story will probably be the actual jump.
I got myself back into the swing of it with this article from Physics Central: Feel free to do the same!
Surviving a Plunge From Space
Imagine yourself in orbit high above the Earth’s tranquil blue and green orb.
That scenario, however unlikely for today’s International Space Station astronauts, could become increasingly necessary as private spaceships take to the skies.
Meteorites, solar storms, and debris from a growing amount of space junk can strike with little warning. NASA estimates there are some 21,000 orbiting debris larger than 10 centimeters.
This has engineers dreaming up the technology to allow a space-farer — be it NASA astronaut or paying space tourist — to survive a dive from hundreds of thousands of feet up.
The spacesuit used would have to provide the same functions and protection spaceships have from Mercury to the Space Shuttle.
It would also have to protect the fragile human body from supersonic speeds and incinerating temperatures as the atmosphere eats away at it like an incoming meteorite.
Though early jumps were made from the stratosphere in the 1960s, no one has tried since.
A 43-year-old Austrian man intends to change that in the near future.
Felix Baumgartner plans to jump from a distance higher than anyone ever has before –plunging some 120,000 feet. Doing so will require another first as he will reach supersonic speeds with only a pressurized suit to protect him… Read More