On Sunday, Felix Baumgartner broke both the sound barrier AND the record for the highest freefall. What would make a man hurl himself from a balloon-lifted capsule, dozens of miles above earth? Science! Baumgartner’s drop will help professionals develop new parachute systems, provide info to aid in emergency spacecraft evacuation, and — most importantly — offer valuable data about high-velocity impacts on dirt fields by Austrian feet. But that’s just the beginning of what we can learn from this momentous man-hurling!
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This week in Mars news, the NASA rover “Curiosity” (also the name of a new perfume for cats) successfully landed on the red planet. The mission, which has been in the works since 2004, cost about 2.5 billion dollars! While our sources tell us about a tenth of that money was spent getting all 18,800 NASA employees “Curiosity” windbreakers, the rest went to building the actual spacecraft.