Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner, 43, broke some big world records on Sunday — he made the highest jump, from 24 miles above sea level, and notched the fastest descent speed, 833.9 miles per hour, or Mach 1.24. Baumgartner ascended into lower orbit in a capsule attached to a helium balloon, then made his jump in a special space suit, spinning dangerously out of control in the upper atmosphere before gaining control when the air grew thicker and parachuting the final mile to earth. He is the first man to break the sound barrier in free fall, and his jump will help scientists develop escape techniques for astronauts or even space tourists. "Trust me, when you stand up there on top of the world, you become so humble," Baumgartner said after landing. "It's not about breaking records any more. It's not about getting scientific data. It's all about coming home."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why Mitt Romney is perfectly poised for a comeback in 2016
- Why is the West so afraid of Islam?
- How to make classic pulled pork
- 8 secrets to steal from power networkers
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The best places to find love — and lust — according to science
- The Nazi smart bomb that inspired China's most dangerous weapon
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- Why GOP reformers are bound to fail
- Don't vote for Andrew Cuomo
Subscribe to the Week