"I know the whole world is watching right now and I wish the world could see what I can see. Sometimes you have to go up really high to understand how small you really are." -- Felix Baumgartner
By now, I'm sure you've heard about Felix Baumgartner, the new world record holder for the highest and fastest (but not longest) free fall in history. On October 14, 2012, he traveled up into the stratosphere by balloon to jump in flight suit from a height of 128,100 feet above Earth. During his free fall, Baumgartner reached speeds of over 830 miles per hour to break the sound barrier. In other words, he exceeded the speed of sound! Amazing! He didn't deploy his parachute until over four minutes into the jump. I found it nerve-wracking to watch, even after I knew he had successfully completed his mission.
Over on Twitter, a few users were taken to task for minimizing this accomplishment, saying that if you are looking at a globe model of Earth this was roughly equivalent to jumping from 1 millimeter above the globe's surface. But I don't think that comparison diminishes his accomplishment one bit! Think of how little is visible on a globe. You can't even see dots for people. So, think of it this way: one teeny tiny dot decided to go far outside of its comfort zone and fall back down. You can imagine it, can't you? One millimeter above a globe is measureable. It's significant. And it is truly, truly awesome.
Way to go, Felix!