If you're anything like me, you were quite annoyed earlier this week by all the claims that Felix Baumgartner had jumped from "near space" or even space itself (really, Telegraph?). Not to take away from his remarkable achievement — a freefall from 128,100 feet — fearless Felix was actually very, very far from space — as much as another 400,000 feet away if you count the lowest possible orbit. Looking to illustrate this, PopSci's Emily Elert has put together an infographic that visually demonstrates just how far Baumgartner really was from space.
Click here for a larger version.
In terms of how far space is from the surface of the Earth, The Federation Aeronautique Internationale has established the so-called Karman line at an altitude of 62 miles (327,360 feet), while NASA gives a generous (if not arbitrary) figure of 50 miles (264,00 feet) — still considerably higher than Baumgartner's jump point.
It's also worth noting that we're still quite a ways off from developing a space suit that can withstand the rigors of a complete re-entry from space. Designing a space suit that can protect its occupant from the tremendous heat will take some considerable technological know-how. And as Baumgartner's dizzying freefall clearly showed, even a drop from 128,100 feet is wrought with extreme danger.