Yesterday, extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner lept from a balloon hovering 24 miles above the surface of the Earth. This is what he saw on his way down. (Fair warning: this might make you nauseous.)
Various outlets are reporting that this video — first aired by Austrian television channel Servus TV, which is owned by jump-sponsor Red Bull — is headcam footage, shot from just after Baumgartner lept from his balloon, right up until shortly after he broke the speed of sound. But, given that you can see Baumgartner's helmet in the video, we're guessing that this footage was actually shot by his chestcam.
Not that it really matters, of course. What matters is that this footage gives us the best idea yet of what it looks like to plummet to Earth from the edge of space. And it is mindblowing. Mindblowing, terrifying, impressive and gut-wrenching, all at the same time.
If you watch this video in full screen, you can actually experience how Baumgartner must have felt when he slipped inadvertently into a violent, uncontrollable spin. Speaking at a press conference yesterday afternoon, Baumgartner had this to say about his turbulent tumble and his brush with unconsciousness:
The exit was perfect but then I started spinning slowly. I thought I'd just spin a few times and that would be that, but then I started to speed up. It was really brutal at times. I thought for a few seconds that I'd lose consciousness. I didn't feel a sonic boom because I was so busy just trying to stabilize myself. We'll have to wait and see if we really broke the sound barrier. It was really a lot harder than I thought it was going to be.
A huge congrats to Baumgartner and the rest of the Red Bull Stratos team on their phenomenal achievement, and for capturing this absolutely breathtaking footage. We can't wait to see more.