Sunday, 21 October 2012

Ignorance is Bliss: Sound Barrier Damaged Beyond Repair as Thrill-Seeker Goes Supersonic

Ryan Hamnett

In what is believed to be the first case of its kind, Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner has been charged with extravehicular speeding after jumping from the edge of space, sources confirmed last Sunday. Extravehicular speeding, or, speeding without the use of a motorised vehicle, is an offence previously reserved for comic books, Jamaican sprinters, and Lance Armstrong going downhill at peak “fitness”. Therefore, it was believed that the judge would be lenient with his sentencing, given the obscure nature of the crime. However, the thrill-seeking skydiver, who was unlucky to be caught by an orbiting meteorological satellite, was able to deal some considerable damage on the joyride, breaking the sound barrier which he claims he “didn’t even see” as he smashed through it at 834 mph, or Mach 1.24.

"Baumgartner's new Facebook profile picture, with an estimated 3 likes"
In a strange echo of a previous highest dive, achieved by Chelsea striker Adrian Mutu in 2004, the case took a turn for the worse for Baumgartner when a blood test revealed dangerous amounts of stimulants in his body at the time of the jump, primarily caffeine. When reached for a comment, Baumgartner claimed “I was under the impression it would give me wings.”Clearly he did not realise that the limited atmosphere at his height would render wings useless.

Although falling from a height of 128,100 feet, 39,400 metres, 24.2 miles, or “a bit further than Paula Radcliff can generally run” may seem impressive, many have questioned the skill actually required. NASA, currently believed to be at the forefront of balloon technology, are apparently delighted with the result of sending a man into space and actually returning. However, sources close to the balloon itself suggest it is not happy with the lack of limelight it is receiving: “Any idiot can fall. I’d like to have seen him get up there without me.” Diver and British sportsman Tom Daley has criticized Baumgartner as well. “While the sheer height and number of flips were impressive, he wouldn't have got many points for technique or water entrance, although admittedly there was no splash,” added the bronze medallist.

Members of the public have also stated their lack of awe at the stunt. “I once dived off the high board at Riverside,” said one American, speaking of his local pool. “And I didn't even need all that safety equipment.” Upon seeing the fall, some seemingly uni-ocular members of the public asked “Is it a bird? Is it a plane?”, evidently having no clear sense of depth perception. Meanwhile, Rangers FC are apparently annoyed that their recent free-fall record was broken so soon, having fallen four tiers in the Scottish Football League in the summer of 2012.

                Is it too late to change my mind?