So here’s this guy, “Fearless Felix Baumgartner,” who’s going to jump out of a balloon with a capsule from 23 miles up. Yes, 23 freakin’ miles waaaaaaay up, which no one has ever done before. No problem. So what. A lot of people have jumped outta balloons from way up.
Yes, that may be a fact. (refer to The Wizard in “TheWizard of Oz”) BUT, not from 23 miles high in an attempt to break the sound barrier on the way down. That is of course if his blood doesn’t boil, his lungs don’t overinflate, the vessels in his brain don’t burst, and his eyes don’t hemorrhage. Kinda like the same effect one gets when you catch your spouse cheating on you.
But, not at 23 miles high. Unless you’re on an airplane and catch your spouse cheating on you with somebody in the plane’s restroom, get into a big fight, accidentally kick open the plane’s door, and fall out into mid-air. Hmmmm……sounds like a good plot for CSI.
So Baumgartner is going to give it a shot next Monday over New Mexico anyhow, knowing full well of the dangers involved. If he accomplishes this feat he will become the first to become the only person to jump out of a balloon capsule in the highest fastest free fall and become the first skydiver to break the sound barrier……or a lot of important bones in his body.
If he doesn’t, and something goes drastically wrong, New Mexico may have the first human made crater.
So, how does this balloon capsule jumping thing work? Baumgartner will put on a pressurized suit and helmet, climb into the balloon, and soar into the air until he gets to the altitude needed to attempt to break the sound barrier. He’ll actually be more than three times higher than the cruising altitude of jetliners. Which is good, because if you’re at the same altitude of cruising jetliners the chances of you getting sucked into a jet engine are pretty much 50 50 odds. Ask any seagull.
Better yet, ask Sully Sullenberg.
If all goes well, Baumgartner will reach the speed of sound in about a half a minute at an altitude of 100,000 feet. Then as he slows down due to the dense atmosphere, he will open his main parachute and descend for about 15 to 20 minutes depending on traffic. Again, seagulls.
Now this entire event will be broadcast live via the Internet. Which means, according to AP Aerospace writer Marcia Dunn, that, “countless viewers could end up witnessing a horrific accident.” Might wanna keep some barf bags handy if you plan on watching this….jussssssssssst in case.
Not to be thinking doom and gloom here folks, but, I’m thinking doom and gloom. I’m not the only one. Baumgartner’s own top medical man, Dr. Jonathan Clark, (no relation to Clark Kent) who is a former NASA flight surgeon was quoted as saying, “All the things that can happen are varying degrees of bad.”
“Sooooooooooo Doc……whaddya think my chances of surviving this jump are?”
“Not to worry Felix. I have all the confidence in the world that you’ll survive the jump outta the balloon.”
“REALLY! You’re that confident?”
“Sure…..it’s the rest of the way down that that’s gonna kill ya.”
The danger in all this is if Baumgartner’s special jumping suit is breached. Like if he bangs into the capsule aboard the balloon or supersonic shock waves batter him. This would cause lethal bubbles in his bodily fluids. Of course my first thought would be to make sure I went to the bathroom first. Hey….one less body fluid to worry about.
As if that wasn’t enough to worry about, during his decent the temperature could be as low as minus 70. Which is what my other half keeps our thermometer at during the winter to save on heating costs. I’m still alive, but then again, I’m not gonna be jumping from a freakin’ balloon 23 miles high. His suit will be all that he has between his body and the extreme cold. Unlike myself, during the winter, who has an electric blanket.
And, again, as if that wasn’t enough, there’s the risk of a flat spin. This would occur if Baumgartner loses control of his body, as many seniors do on occasion, during his free fall and starts spinning. A long, fast spin, if left unchecked, could turn his eyeballs into blood-soaked, reddish-purple orbs and he could be left temporarily blind. Kinda like when you’ve had too much to drink in a bar and the room starts spinning. Cept you only have to fall a few feet onto the floor…..and not 23 miles. Oh yeah, and on top of that he could suffer from a massive blood clot on his brain.
There are certain precautions in place. Jussssst in case. He will have a small stabilizing chute that will automatically deploy if he goes into a flat spin and blacks out. There is also an emergency chute that will also automatically deploy if he’s unable to pull the cord on his main chute. Should all of that fail, that new crater I mentioned in New Mexico is a possibility.
Oh yeah, one more piece of good news. If the balloon ruptures shortly after liftoff due to a gust of wind or something, possibly an off course seagull, the capsule will come crashing down with him inside and he won’t have much time to blow the hatch.
Which leads me to believe that the crater might be much bigger than I thought.
Felix says that he would not attempt to jump if the odds were against him. Obviously, considering I just listed the odds, Felix knows nothing about odds and has never bought a Powerball ticket.
If he makes it back in one piece, Baumgartner says that he plans to settle down with his girlfriend and fly helicopters in the U. S. and Austria, performing mountain rescues and firefighting.
A word of caution to anyone living in New Mexico who just happens to be out walking their dog or something at the precise same moment Baumgartner is jumping out of that balloon from 23 miles up.
Might wanna keep your umbrella open while your out walking…….jsussssssst in case.
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