It’s been said in the past that Julius Caesar, Hannibal and Machiavelli have been known as just a few of the most ambitious people ever in history. But let’s be honest-they’ve got nothing on Felix Baumgartner. Why so? Because the dude wants to fly. Or die. Y’know, whichever rhyming word might seem more appropriate.
Baumgartner aims to jump out of a hot air balloon 36,575 meters in the air and free fall before opening his parachute around 1520 meters, in the process shattering a free fall record set in 1960 by US Air Force Captain Joe Kittinger who jumped out of a balloon 31,333 meters high. As you could imagine, such a jump will be dangerous; in addition to achieving supersonic speed 35 seconds after he jumps, Baumgartner will also be jumping from a point that’s dangerous just to be there:
The jump height is above a threshold at 19,000 meters called the Armstrong line, where the atmospheric pressure is so low that fluids start to boil. “If he opens up his face mask or the suit, all the gases in your body go out of suspension, so you literally turn into a giant fizzy, oozing fluid from your eyes and mouth, like something out of a horror film,” [Project director Art] Thompson explained. “It’s just seconds until death.”
Don’t worry though, as he won’t be completely left in the lurch without any help: Red Bull is sponsoring his attempted suicide. Hey, Red Bull, you might not want to run your commercials in the meantime. Just in case.