So! Red Bull decided to spend a small country's budget on sending a man to the edge of space (not real space) so that he could fall back down again. Mmm?? My initial thoughts were. "Thats cool but a bit pointless."
That seems to be a lot of effort and money for something that requires no skill. Falling! Children do it all the time. I then heard that the helium cost was in the region of $70,000. Are you kidding? Do you know how many people in underprivileged countries (like Thailand where Red Bull originated) could do with that sort of money? The answer is A LOT! I thought it a bit selfish that so much time, money and effort was put into something that only 1 man was going to benefit from.
So with scepticism I watched Mr Baumgartner get lifted higher and higher into 'space'. I was still skeptical and muttering what a waist of time it all was until he walked out onto the edge of the platform, surrounded by an almost pitch black sky! Wow! That did look incredible! As he stood there ready to fall back to earth I realised I was wrong in my thoughts. I cycled around the world. My friend climbed Everest. In fact most adventure-like challenges are 'pointless' in the grand scheme of things. But it is in fact these pointless things that make the world go round. If one person gets inspired to think bigger by a mountaineer, or Olympic cyclist, then thats enough right? Although Baumgartner's fall from space looked like it was a solo, selfish attempt at something pointless. It in fact was possibly one of the most inspiring things I have seen since Wiggo won the Tour. While I'm not on the phone to NASA to try and become an Astronaut, I am sitting at my desk wondering what else can be done - and none of my ideas have anything to do with space or energy drinks. (although may include various forms of falling) If I am doing it then you can be sure there are thousands of other people doing it too. What if, and why not? These two questions are enough to inspire people to think bigger and dream higher. I believe they are the reasons we progress as humans.
So! Thank you Mr Baumgartner for your overpriced pointless fall to earth. It's inspired me to think bigger! Not to mention you probably did a whole lot of science stuff on the way down too!