Earlier this week, I came to a realization: humans have made some startling ‘achievements’ this year as it relates to pushing the boundaries of experience up — and down. Forgive me if you’ve already made this connection (or if someone else already has), as I said, I just came to this realization a couple of days ago.
Almost 8 months ago, director, screen-writer, visual artist, imaginary genius, and all-around cool guy (he’s Canadian, too!), James Cameron reached the “bottom of the ocean” — the Mariana Trench. Cameron was the first person to do this dive solo and no doubt, saw things that no other human being has ever seen. Absolutely remarkable. I can’t wait to see what kinds of things that Cameron comes up with after having added these new images to his realm of possibility.
Just about a month ago now, Felix Baumgartner reached the “top of the sky.” Baumgartner travelled almost 40 km up into the stratosphere — and then jumped! The stratosphere! Baumgartner now has the record for highest manned balloon flight and the highest altitude jump. Part of the purpose of the jump was to collect data to assist in the probability of space tourism.
So — in case you hadn’t put “Up” and “Down” together, humans have gone to places they’d never gone before. The strange part that I see is that in amongst everything, both of these events weren’t necessarily initiated by government agencies. The “Up” certainly had NASA assistance, but it wasn’t something (from what I’ve read) that was initiated by NASA. Similarly, the “down” wasn’t initiated by a government agency, either. I wonder if this will be a sign of things to come. That is, can we expect more exploration paid for by private funding rather than public funding?