Sunday, April 6, 2014

Red Bull Stratos: Mission to the Edge of Space

Where: Air and Space Museum

When: through June 26, 2014 (per Smithsonian exhibits page) through May 26, 2014 (per A&S page)

You may remember Felix Baumgartner and his trip through the sound barrier.  I thought at the time that he was a madman; that this was a ridiculous stunt and giving it TV coverage was just encouraging a crazy person.

Truth be told, I do still kind of think that you have to have a screw loose in order to free fall out of a space ship, but after seeing this display at A&S, I also see the purpose of doing it.

As the prospect of commercial space travel becomes more and more real, preparations for emergency evacuations are becoming more and more necessary.  After Baumgartner's trip, we know that human beings can survive supersonic speeds, even if they are not in a vehicle.  If you were traveling at the edge of space, you would have a way to get back to earth, even if your vehicle could not.

In addition, Baumgartner was wearing a large number of monitors, providing medical data to scientists which will doubtless be useful as space travel becomes more commonplace.

Verdict: Worth a look-see.  Both informative and exciting.  Be prepared for crowds, as with any Air and Space show.

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