I set out this week to look into how people approach the end of time – not in an apocalyptic sense, but into how so-called thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies are able to look death in the face, often on a regular basis.
In searching for an appropriate guest, I researched the people who had jumped the furthest, fallen the fastest, done things so seemingly dangerous that most of us could barely conceive of them.
In this search, I found Alan Eustace, a 57-year-old Senior Google exec who last year jumped 135,000 feet from a helium balloon in the stratosphere to beat three world records, plummeting to earth at sound barrier-breaking speeds up to 822 miles per hour. Just to put that into perspective, he fell from higher and for longer than any human had before, breaking some of the records set in the highly publicized Red Bull/Felix Baumgartner jump. As if that wasn’t enough, Eustace was the first person to attempt such a feat without a capsule. It was just him, in his specially engineered suit, attached to a huge helium balloon.
I spoke to him about how, and why, and asked Dr. Claudia about the science behind extreme sports, daredevil leaps into the unknown, and the mind’s approach to the end of time.