big silver gas bag
September 2, 2003 3:03 PM   Subscribe

A Big Balloon will be launched from a ship off the coast at St Ives, Cornwall. In it, two brave (or foolhardy) men are going very, very high "to the edge of space"; in a f**!ing balloon! If that's not exciting enough for you, you can always go to the Tate, take in some industrial archeology, learn kernewek or go to Eden But don't forget to have a pasty
posted by lerrup (6 comments total)
Last one to die wins?
posted by xmutex at 3:24 PM on September 2, 2003

My favorite part is from the history section: "1957...Joe Kittinger makes the highest parachute jump in history at 102,500 feet (30,750 m) -- a record that has never been broken."

Apparently when he did this he became the the first man to exceed the Speed of Sound without an aircraft or space vehicle. This jump involved 20 vertical miles of free fall before opening his chute. If you're wondering what he looked like when he hit the ground, here are the photos.

(And I thought I was hot shit for bungi jumping 360 feet from Victoria Falls.)
posted by alms at 3:36 PM on September 2, 2003

Whoops, looks like the QinetiQ 1 site had the date wrong -- the parachute from 102,000 feet took place in 1960, not 1957.
posted by alms at 3:40 PM on September 2, 2003

Above 40,000ft (12,000m) the ambient pressure is so low that the lungs cannot absorb enough oxygen to survive, even if they breathe 100% oxygen. If this happens you become hypoxic and die very quickly. Above 63,000 ft (18,900m), the ambient air pressure is so low that blood effectively starts to boil in your body

All I need to know to never, ever attempt anything even remotely similar to this.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:01 PM on September 2, 2003

It didn't get very far - either a seam or a valve failed and it never got off the ground.
posted by r1ch at 12:45 AM on September 3, 2003

No, your blood will not boil, not even in space, at least not while you're using it. Going from sea level to space is a variation of exactly one atmosphere, which is not a whole hell of a lot, and your vascular system, which operates under it's own pressure normally, can easily keep your blood where it's supposed to be and in a liquid form.

RE Kittinger: A couple years ago I blogged an official Air Force account of his high altitude free falls. Of note: the seal on his right glove failed, and his blood did not boil. There are some high-quality pictures there, too.
posted by NortonDC at 9:31 AM on September 3, 2003

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