This weekend, 8 million people reportedly watched the live stream of Felix Baumgartner free falling for 128,100 feet. During this incredible feat, he hurdled from the edge of space back down to desert land in New Mexico in less than 10 minutes.
Google have confirmed that Felix broke several online records, including the highest number of viewers simultaneously watching the event as it was streamed on YouTube. Leading the train of celebratory congratulations to Felix and the team across the social networks was NASA via Twitter.
But for me, a tweet that truly summed up the scale of achievement was: “A truly amazing testament to the power of science, imagination, and human bravery”, which came from a TV columnist called Jace Lacob based in LA.
There was some cynicism surrounding the event, with some critics implying that the mission held no real relevance to the human species. What we did discover was that in 10 minutes, a human can fall freely and reach the speed of sound and then stroll right back onto the planet as if it’s nothing special.
It also inspired, shocked and amazed millions of people globally and united them for a common big idea. I certainly felt it was a bigger and better spectacle than this summer’s Olympics in London – whether anyone would feel the same on that I’m not sure.
The weekend’s events was a boost of inspiration and a sense of global achievement providing huge and deserved attention to the world of Science. We even saw the first five pages of some newspapers covered in science related news, paired with the homecoming of the now retired US space shuttle Endeavour to LA where it will be parked up at a museum in the state.
The Edge of Space was simply amazing to view and it’s an incredible achievement for humanity.