Finding the inspiration to soar

Bob Trettin

Well, Felix Baumgartner definitely took one giant leap for himself as he jumped to Earth from a capsule in the stratosphere Sunday, Oct. 14. In case you were wondering, that thing falling from the sky over the weekend was neither a bird nor a plane, but I suppose an argument could be made for superman: It was the 43-year-old Austrian skydiver who can now be considered a Space Diver, which is a pretty badass title if you ask me.

There are some who think that Baumgartner’s jump was a waste of time and money, that it was a mere stunt. However, there was more to it than simply breaking world records. The researchers for this Red Bull Stratos project say that Baumgartner’s jump will be scientifically valuable for the development of newer parachute systems along with ideas for emergency evacuation from vehicles. NASA will also be informed about these developments in regards to the manufacturing of spacecrafts. Not to mention that this was awesome live television.

I was virtually present for this incredible event. I watched as Baumgartner was taken up into space by a helium balloon. I watched as mission control provided him with step-by-step instructions for his mission. I watched as he opened the capsule door to reveal Earth beneath him, and I watched as he saluted the world, stepped off the ledge, free fell for four minutes and 19 seconds, deployed his parachute, and then landed on his feet in Roswell, New Mexico.

As I watched Felix jump from the stratosphere down to Earth, I thought to myself, “What have I done with my day?” This guy just pulled a Buzz Lightyear, broke the sound barrier in addition to the record for the highest free fall jump-and I’m too lazy to get up from the couch to turn up the volume.

On a side note, I realize that there is no way on Earth or, more appropriately, in space that I would ever be in Felix’s position preparing to jump, but hypothetically, I absolutely would have said “to infinity and beyond!” before making the leap. Also, there is no doubt that mission control would have been referred to as “Star Command.”

My point is: If nothing else, Baumgartner’s space jump can provide us with motivation and inspiration-maybe not to jump out of a capsule at 128,100 feet, but at the very least to study for midterms, or finish a paper or to just do that thing that we’ve always procrastinated doing. Laziness and procrastination can be fought with a little motivation.

For example, after seeing Baumgartner float into space, jump out, free fall at a max speed of 883.9 mph and then parachute to the ground after years of intense preparation, I figured that I could get off the couch and make some pancakes. After that, I was extremely motivated to eat those pancakes, and then I was compelled to wash the dishes that I had just used to make those pancakes. Finally, I was almost inspired enough to do my Statistics homework.

In fact, I was somewhat interested in being an astronaut after witnessing the space jump, but “Bob Trettin” just doesn’t have the same ring to it as “Felix Baumgartner,” so that’s out the window.