Well done, Felix Baumgartner.
Millions of people watched via a live video stream as Baumgartner jumped from a capsule 24 miles above the Earth's surface on Sunday, becoming the world's first skydiver to break the sound barrier. Baumgartner landed safely near Roswell, N.M., some nine minutes later.
It was, simply, an amazing human, scientific and techological accomplishment.
Baumgartner reached Mach 1.24 or 833.9 miles per hour, becoming the first person to reach supersonic speed without traveling in a jet or a spacecraft. He spent the first half of his jump free-falling before opening a parachute, eventually landing on his feet in the New Mexico desert. His specially designed suit kept him safe from the temperatures of nearly 70 below zero, and the enormous dangers to his body during the record-setting plunge.
In addition to its enormous entertainment value, Baumgartner's daredevil stunt also will be studied by NASA, which is working to improve future space suits. Baumgartner's leap brought back memories of daredevils of the past, like Evel Knievel. But this was not a jump over cars, busses or fountains, nor was it a ride across the Grand Canyon on a modified rocket. This was well beyond Knievel's feats. This event had scientific value, as well as a serious dose of the daredevil spirit.
Well done, indeed.