Here's a headline nobody expected to see. A 57 year-old senior vice president at Google has quietly destroyed Felix Baumgartner's world record for the highest-altitude jump in history.
But whereas 12.5 million tuned in to watch Baumgartner's jump, there was almost no media coverage of Alan Eustace's jump, which was three years in the planning.
Eustace jumped from over 135,000ft, or more than 25 miles, which is significantly further than Baumgartner's 24. He was lifted over by a huge helium balloon from an airfield in New Mexico, before plummeting back down to earth at the speed of 822 mph. It took just over 4 minutes to complete.
Eustace is Senior Vice President of Knowledge at Google, and had planned to make the jump since 2011. He worked with the Paragon Space Development Corporation and its Stratospheric Explorer team, which has been researching ways to create a self-contained commercial spacesuit that would allow individual exploration above the Earth's surface.
The jump is a major landmark in that project and in the future of space travel generally. Eustace described the moment he broke the sound barrier:
It was amazing. You could see the darkness of space and you could see the layers of atmosphere, which I had never seen before.
Who knows, maybe one day we'll be following in his footsteps and wearing space suits of our own.
(Source: The Independent)