June 15, 2012 – If you think that regular skydiving sounds scary, it sounds like a breeze when comparing it to the "out of this world" skydive that Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner is planning to do this summer.
He's planning to break the world record for longest skydiving jump. The record is currently held by retired Air Force Colonel Joe Kittinger who fell from 31 kilometres (19.2 miles) above Earth in 1960. An average skydive is usually from an altitude of four kilometres (2.5 miles).
Baumgarther is planning to fall from 37 kilometres (22.9 miles), and he will be wearing a special pressurized suit that will prevent his blood from boiling at such altitude.
The reason so many things could go wrong with this dive is because of how high up Baumgartner will be jumping from. At that elevation humans' blood will boil without the help of a pressurized suit. He will also have to breathe pure oxygen for one hour before the jump to remove nitrogen bubbles from his blood. Once he reaches his jumping point he will remain in the aircraft at the same altitude for three hours so that his body can adjust to the pressure.
Would you skydive from this height if you had the chance?
Not only will Baumgartner break the world record for longest skydiving jump, but if all goes well he will also become the first person to break the speed of sound in a free-fall jump! Kittinger fell slightly slower than the speed of sound even when he reached his maximum falling speed of 988 kilometres (614 miles) per hour. The speed of sound is 1,123 kilometres (760 miles) per hour.