An anonymous reader writes: This summer, an Austrian named Felix Baumgartner plans to ride a 600-foot tall balloon halfway up the stratosphere. When he reaches 120,000 feet, he will jump.
What happens next is swathed in mystery, but a few things are certain. For a short time inside his pressurized spacesuit, Baumgartner, a professional BASE jumper, will be the fastest man alive. Thirty seconds after leaping, he’ll exceed the speed of sound in the thin upper atmosphere by traveling almost 700 miles per hour. And if he safely parachutes to the ground between 12 and 15 minutes later, he’ll walk away with at least four new records: the highest skydive, the longest free-fall, the first to reach supersonic speeds in free-fall, and the highest manned balloon ride.