Well, that didn’t take long

Most people will have heard that Felix Baumgarten performed his utterly awesome skydive yesterday, smashing several records along the way – highest balloon ride, highest skydive, and highest ever live streaming from Youtube. You rock, Felix!

Unfortunately, only one day has lapsed before the conspiracy theorists are crawling out of the woodwork and claiming it was faked. No, seriously. Here’s one. For starters, there was very little air at the height he dropped from, so there would be almost no air resistance, and the most it would have got would be roughly standard atmospheric pressure. Also, the speed of sound varies with air pressure and temperature, but more so with temperature. The result of this is that the speed of sound at approximately 23,000 metres, which is when the instruments suggest he broke the sound barrier, is 320 m/s instead of 340 m/s.

Of course, the FAI still has to officially confirm the new records, particularly the speed of sound. And it’s not going to lead to cures for the various types of cancers, or solve climate change or the world’s economy…but so what? He did a damn brave thing, and that alone deserves some respect.


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About Philip

I'm a physics graduate, sci-fi writer, budding game designer, and amateur human.

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