• Sonic Rainboom Without a Vehicle

    Or sonic boom at least.

    Sounds like Red Bull is sponsoring this guy to jump out of a balloon at 120,000 feet in attempt at the record for first ever sound barrier shattering freefall jump. 

    Does this mean Rainbow Dash isn't so physics breaking after all?!  If this guy pulls it off, our favorite little Pegasus might be more logical than we once thought! 

    You can find the full article here!

    79 comments:

    1. Hrm... Interesting.
      So, what about breaking the light spectrum?

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    2. People need to stop fixing science like this. It's perfectly fine broken.

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    3. I would so totally volunteer to do that!!1`

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    4. Isn't terminal velocity 120mps?

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    5. Neat- but didn't some guy already do this back in the fifties?

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    6. ... What's terminal velocity for the human body again?
      Or is he going to go beyond it somehow, possibly with the suit?

      Also, that picture isn't good for my acrophobia...

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    7. The bottom of the article says that they planned to do this last year. Typo, rescheduling, or did this just not happen?

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    8. It states that they hope to do this is "2010". I'm assuming that's a typo, but can anyone verify that?

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    9. Sounds cool, wouldn't try it though.

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    10. I sincerely hope this guy doesn't die... O__O I'm not good at all at physics, but even I can tell that it'll be difficult to slow his decent if he breaks the sound barrier...

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    11. @Anonymous

      Blast it! Beaten to the punch!

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    12. Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's impossible. The fastest a human can go, based on the immutable laws of physics, is about 120 mph, a far cry from the speed of sound.

      Rainbow Dash is much more logical than this attempt, since she was also using propulsion and magic to aid her descent.

      I hate to be the drab, fun sucking vacuum right now, but it's impossible.

      On the other hand, skydiving from 120 thousand feet is still very badass. It's almost as manly as My Little Pony.

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    13. Yeah, I'm seeing a lot of 2010 in the article, I think this is old news. Still awesome though.

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    14. @DSNesmith
      I thought so as well, however it turns out that Joseph Kittinger only reached 614 mph (or mach .90), which is the current speed record for a freefall.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Kittinger

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    15. When I get a lot of money(you know, from conquering galaxies and stuff), I want do this except I'll have a rainbow trail appear when I break the sound barrier.

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    16. Oh my god... Does he realize what atrain he will put on his body? He is gonna be all whooo ehooo and then he is gonna be all ahhhhh!!! And then he will explode!!! Then ill have more "secret ingredient!!!" yay!!!! Skydiver cupcakes for everypony!!!

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    17. But Fluttershy is our favourite little pegasus...

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    18. *cough*

      Err, Seth, you appear to have goofed up there.

      That article is from July 12th, 2010.

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    19. Also this won't happen.

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    20. This article was published last year. Jump has yet to happen (in part thanks to some legal problems).
      Potential for breaking the sound barrier is probably compounded by added suit weight and the fact that it won't be a straight drop down; it sounds like if you added his terminal velocity down to the speed of him and the plane perpendicular to Earth will break 343 m/s. Also, terminal velocity varies based on atmosphere, so a near space jump should have a higher terminal velocity.

      TLDR; Article last year, jump hasn't happened, breaking sound barrier still theoretically possible

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    21. Well this article is null and void.

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    22. HANG ON, BUZZ ALDRIN! I'M COMING!

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    23. Terminal velocity is determined by wind resistance so if you jump high enough in the atmosphere where there is little air it results in a higher terminal velocity. So it is possible for him to break the sound barrier, but not for the whole ride.

      The real danger here is the amount of force that is going to be forced onto his body. It could cause internal bleeding or knock him unconscious and whatnot.

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    24. I'd like to see him make a 90 degree turn going that speed.

      Anyway, as long as they have a special uber-suit, don't see why it wouldn't be possible. It wouldn't surprise me if someone died trying before someone succeeded though.

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    25. I seriously fear for his life.

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    26. Thats a long way to fall. I hope he has FiM in that super science helmet of his!

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    27. Where is Physics Brony when you need him?

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    28. Unless he's wearing some kind of special suit, the shock wave will rip him to shreds.

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    29. Skydiver here. terminal velocity is based on weight and body position. stable box freefall speed is 120 but can be much higher.
      did have better comment with examples but firefox hates commenting anonymously and my comment died...

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    30. @Xeonneo
      I'm thinking that's why he's jumping from that high. The air is so thin the terminal velocity probably won't be a problem until he starts to enter the troposphere where terminal velocity would catch up to him and begin to slow him down

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    31. Law Suit put jump on hold:
      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704164004575548514271289990.html


      It was only settled outside of court the 30th of last month.
      http://www.redbullstratos.com/JumpOnHold.aspx

      So it can still happen.

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    32. @Anonymous
      terminal velocity is dictated by wind resistance. they said he was humping basically from space, where the air is so thin the terminal velocity problem might not be a big deal.

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    33. I don't think there's any way they'll be able to make him reach mach 1 just by freefalling, no matter how aerodynamic they make him. His terminal velocity would still be way too low.

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    34. @Anonymous

      You do realize that terminal velocity is determined by weight and air resistance, both of which are hardly immutable.

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    35. He's gonna be break the world record for being scraped off the asphalt in the most counties by several puking firemen.

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    36. @adrian brony

      your freefall speed is dictated by how much you can overcome wind resistance, which is done using weight and body position, like I said.
      A head down freeflyer is going to fall a lot faster than a group of people flat flying trying to do a formation skydive.

      Because the air is thin they have a shot at breaking the sound barrier. I was reponding to people thinking your terminal velocity is 120. Its not.

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    37. HE HASN'T JUMPED YET!!!
      read this:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felix_Baumgartner#Biography

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    38. Screw Seth's poor journalism, we can whack him upside the head with AP Styleguides later. That man is going to fall to Earth from space. FROM SPACE!

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    39. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Excelsior

      About bloody damned time

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    40. Two important things that make breaking the sound barrier possible with this jump:

      A) Terminal velocity is inversely related to the density of air. The higher up you are, the less dense the air is. Therefore, your terminal velocity at a higher altitude is higher.

      B) The speed of sound in a medium is Vs = sqrt(γ * p / ρ), where γ is the ratio of specific heats (1.4 for air, IIRC), p is the pressure, and ρ is the density. As p and ρ are related for an Ideal gas, which air can be safely modeled as, the equation becomes Vs = sqrt(γ * R * T / M), where R is the universal gas constant, T is the temperature, and M is the molar mass of the gas. R/M= 286.9 J/(kg*K) for air, so essentially Vs = sqrt(401.66 T), if T is in Kelvins and Vs is in m/s. As T drops with altitude, so does the speed of sound. Therefore, the speed of sound will also be less at the altitude he is diving at.

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    41. Fluttershy is ma favorite pegasus, thank you veru much!

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    42. He's planning on jumping higher then Joseph Kittinger did in his world record jump. Fact of the matter is, it probabily isn't possible to break the sound barrier and live to tell about it. Part of Joseph Kittinger's jump was also work on could a high-altitude pilot survive ejecting and coming back to Earth. (Answer: Yes)

      Issue is at high altitude hardly any air is there to slow you down and it gradually gets thicker as you descend, taking you easy into terminal velocity speed. To break the sound barrier, you'll have to break it BEFORE the air starts to slow you down.

      Personally, don't think you can reach it before the air starts to slow you.

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    43. The air at 120k feet is thin enough and cold enough to make a supersonic jump possible. Temperature does indeed factor into the situation. The lower the temperature, the slower sound travels through a gas, therefore the speed of sound is considerably less in a colder environment than normal conditions (25 deg. C).
      Air pressure affects the rate of deceleration the diver experiences, counteracting the acceleration due to gravity.


      Presumably, he would be diving head-first to produce the smallest amount of surface area for wind resistance to affect, thus increasing his terminal velocity. There is no 'set' terminal velocity, it's a function of wind resistance and surface area affected by the wind, relative to the acceleration due to gravity.

      Conclusion: Possible, but difficult.

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    44. The trick is that the medium increases in density along with delta-t. Who knows, it's probably possible if you start high enough-like, the moon.

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    45. Someone's a-headin' fer a fall...

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    46. Screw the physics police!

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    47. If I wanted to break the sound barrier while skydiving, I would strap a on a jetpack. Honestly, while it would kinda be awesome to just fall really fast, the thing that's usually cool about breaking the sonic "barrier" is that you're in a vehicle that can make you move that fast, like a jet or a rocket propelled car.

      Anyways, none of this is as awesome as Rainbow Dash, since she can make a sonic boom with her 100% natural wings. It's the difference between a human riding a car and a human running as fast as a car, or something like that.

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    48. That. sound. FABULOUS!
      Freefalling through the sound barrier. I would give a leg to be that guy.

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    49. This article seems old. Implies testing was set for 2010. (or perhaps the jump itself)

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    50. Well, you know, I prefer Rainbow Dash to be the pony that which physics does not apply.
      It makes him 20% cooler than other ponies.

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    51. What does this have to do with ponies?

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    52. So according to the comments, this is old (don't know how I missed that in the article).

      Also, isn't terminal velocity determined by air resistance? I'd just like to point out that it could be effected by a high altitude jump, perhaps.

      Of course, technically the speed of sound itself is based upon atmospheric conditions even if slightly.

      Also, I see someone posted an article about the guy supposedly reaching Mach .9. I see it's Wikipedia, but maybe I'll have to look into it.

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    53. For those of you who are saying it's old, see MintBerryCrunch's comment above.

      The dive was stalled because of a lawsuit filed by a guy who claimed they stole his idea. The lawsuit was resolved, so the jump is now back on. They just don't have a specific time set yet.

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    54. @Anonymous:HANG ON, BUZZ ALDRIN! I'M COMING!

      *Guile's_theme.mp3*

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    55. terminal velocity in a bullet dive is 210mph. not fast enough to break the sound barrier. sorry science beats red bull.

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    56. Keep in mind terminal velocity--as mentioned many, MANY times already--is partially determined by the density of the air in which one is falling.

      120,000 feet up is about 22.73 MILES up in the air. (36.576 km). At sea level, air pressure is about 14.7 pounds per square inch. At 20 miles up, air pressure drops to 0.18 psi. This means a skydiver would be able to free-fall much, much faster than they would closer to the surface of the planet.

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    57. So if he does this will the CMC finally get their cutie marks?

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    58. He just need some rainbow trailing and booming device, and he will be ready to go.

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    59. Is this a joke? are these people retarded or on drugs? Breaking the sound barrier with just our bodies is impossible atm, and if you did I'm sure the g-forces would tear your body into mush. Pretty sure this has been attempted unsuccessfully hundreds of times to no avail, yet this group seems to think its possible.

      My vote for this years darwin award goes to these people.

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    60. Michel ­Fournier also attempted it, but he has already failed 4 times. He doesn't have a sponsor and so he is out. At leaast he is not dead like Pyotr Dolgov and Nick Piantanida.

      And for those that say that this is bogus physics, IT IS NOT! Amateur astronomer and Engineer word. The density, pressure, temperature and viscosity of the air at the stratosphere will be so low that he will surely reach MACH 1 conditions, bow shock vibrations and all, in ten seconds flat, and 340.29 m/s, 761 MPH (speed of sound at sea level) in about 35 seconds.

      What will happen is the big question. He is going to use a special space suit and if it shreds due to friction, or tears from a pull, he will depressurizate, freeze and his blood will boil, losing consciousness in 5 seconds and dying in minutes. Some parts of his bodysuit may be in contact with supersonic layers of air, while other may be going transonic, it's the field of speculation on how the air will behave around a human body at those speeds. He can also start spinning out of control and lose consciousness, some failure can happen while ascending... oh so much can go wrong D: But if he succeeds he will prove that astronauts can literally abandon ship and live to tell, unlike the Columbia crew.

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    61. @Sun Ray No G-forces unless:
      A) His main parachute activates suddenly before time, getting a huge halt that will crush his bones.
      B) Changes his entry degree abruptly (kinda like Dashie)
      C) Does a wrong maneuver and starts spinning. At +180 RPM you blackout.

      Speed is not acceleration (thus, not G). You can travel at high speeds and be weightless if your linear and angular speeds are constant.

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    62. OOOPS... said 180 RPM you blackout? No. 120 RPM you blackout, 180 RPM you DIE as your brain gets liquefied!

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    63. Disregard terminal velocity - acquire sonic boom.

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    64. The G and shock forces probably won't be very severe. The air is very thin at the altitude he'll be supersonic in, and the atmosphere thickens gradually, so he'll gradually encounter more air resistance, and begin slowing down gently when the air resistance starts to exceed his weight. He'll be moving at normal skydiving speeds as he goes through normal skydiving altitudes.

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    65. Actually, didn't the last guy who jumped from that high break the speed of sound, way back in the mid 50's to early 60's?

      Plus, just falling past the speed of sound is one thing, it's another entirely to thrust your way past it, then pull a 90 degree turn midair, and continue supersonic flight.

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    66. So this didn´t actually happen?

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    67. @Anonymous

      >The fastest a human can go, based on the immutable laws of physics, is about 120 mph, a far cry from the speed of sound.

      That's the stupidest thing I've ever read. People go faster than this every day in airplanes. Which laws of physics are you referring to? You don't get to just say "laws of physics" and then say anything stupid you want. You have to back it up.

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    68. The first thing I thought was that this guy would have a problem,considering the terminal velocity of a human. But then again, the guy who did it in the 50's, Joe Kittinger, reached almost 700 mph in a sitting-down position so the terminal velocity must be pretty high...

      Also, the article says that it was going to happen in 2010 but due to a lawsuit (apparently some guy claimed that the sponsors of this jump stole his idea to do this) which has been resolved outside of court the project was put on hold.

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    69. @ anonymous
      That guy was assuming your typical stable flat flying freefall from normal altitudes. you average 150mph in a head down freefly skydive and I've known people to really push the speed up.
      Also at the altitudes he's jumping air resistance is far less so he can go really fast.

      I doubt he knew much about skydiving or how air works...

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    70. i think once he goes into terminal velosity he would need somethign to propell him downwards.which sounds like death to me. but none the less
      go rocketman go!
      reminds me of the elton john song

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    71. What happened to reading comprehension, bronies?

      Literally 5 people have told you how "terminal velocity" works, and that a supersonic skydive is not only possible but inevitable *if you start high enough*, and still I keep reading posts saying "he won't be able to go more than 120 mph".

      Bronies, I am disappoint.

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    72. ^Yup, many apony dont read, let alone do research of their own.

      The speed of sound will decrease as he falls from 120,000 feet through 82,000 feet, then it will reach a minimum because temperature will remain constant as there are isothermal (constant temperature) regions of the atmosphere. The speed of sound will bottom out at 659 mph
      {v=sqrt(1.4 *1716(ft*lb/slug*R)*389.99(R))}

      he'll probably reach sonic speeds maybe 40 seconds after the jump
      although i'd be worried that the drag force would be too much to overcome. Regardless of where you are in the atmosphere, coefficient of drag increases as you approach the sound barrier.

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    73. Objects accelerate towards the earth at 32.2 feet per second, so depending on how much his suit reduces wind resistence, he should reach the speed of sound in about 35 seconds, after falling 20,000 feet, give or take.

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    74. I hope it's possible. I really don't have enough of a physics or mathematics background to run the numbers myself.

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