At 1:30 p.m. Eastern, skydiver and BASE jumper Felix Baumgartner is going to jump out of a balloon in space. Baumgartner’s dive will start at the edge of the stratosphere, and he’ll freefall nearly 120,000 miles toward the ground, achieving supersonic speeds before finally activating his parachute.
This is more or less 100 percent a publicity stunt for Red Bull, as far as I can tell, but they’re also KIND OF testing the effects on the human body of high altitude and really, really fast acceleration. It’s unlikely, but possible, that as you strap on your Red Bull-branded spacesuit to board Starship Red Bull 1 for evacuation from a completely ballsed-up Earth, you’ll tell your grandkids, “Hey, I watched a guy potentially flatten himself to make this technology possible.”
UPDATE: Psych! They’ve nixed the launch for today because of heavy winds. There’s a backup balloon, so they’re saying they might try tomorrow, maybe? But basically Red Bull has consigned us all to live on Earth until it implodes from neglect, for want of the high-tech gear that would be facilitated by this highly scientific experiement.