I find this surprisingly inspiring :)  This was part daredevil stunt, part space exploration: What is the mission?

My knee-jerk reaction to such endeavors is usually, "How can they spend so much money on stuff like this when there are so many problems on earth to solve...?"  But really, money is being wasted on other things, like war.  Space (or near space, in this case) exploration is important... we should keep pushing the boundaries of science and what we know to be true, or possible... its natural that we want to keep pushing our limits to see what we're capable of.  The real waste of money is on weapons manufacturing, or building new prisons, or new oil pipelines or nuclear power plants, etc.  Space exploration serves us... but those things do not.

Felix Baumgartner inspired the world yesterday... apparently there were ~8 million people watching him live!  I watched too, and it was so nerve-wracking!! I was cracking up when he was about to exit that capsule... I think it was my way of coping with the nervousness. And then watching him plummet in freefall for ~4 minutes... I was just hoping he'd make it down alive, which he did.

Here's the replay:

Before he jumped he said, "I know the whole world is watching now. I wish they could see what I can see. Sometimes you have to get up really high to understand how small you are. I'm going home now." wow :)

"Sometimes you have to go up really high to understand how small you are" - Felix   

Felix Baumgartner describes his record breaking jump from the stratosphere. 
“The exit was perfect but then I started spinning slowly. I thought I’d just spin a few times and that would be that, but then I started to speed up. It was really brutal at times. I thought for a few seconds that I’d lose consciousness. I didn’t feel a sonic boom because I was so busy just trying to stabilize myself. We’ll have to wait and see if we really broke the sound barrier. It was really a lot harder than I thought it was going to be.” 
 Felix Baumgartner earned his place in the history books on Sunday after overcoming concerns with the power for his visor heater that impaired his vision and nearly jeopardized the mission. Felix reached an estimated speed of *833.9 mph / 1,342.8 km/h (Mach 1.24). This preliminary figure would make him the first man to break the speed of sound in freefall and set more records* while delivering valuable data for space exploration. 
 After reaching an altitude of 128,100 feet (39,045 meters) in a helium-filled balloon, Felix Baumgartner completed a record breaking jump from the edge of space, exactly 65 years after Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier flying in an experimental rocket powered airplane. The 43-year-old Austrian skydiving expert also broke two other world records (highest freefall, highest manned balloon flight), leaving the longest freefall to project mentor Col. Joe Kittinger.  http://www.redbullstratos.com/blog/

Did he leave the record for Joe on purpose...?  I wonder...

Felix Baumgartner jumped from a capsule dangling from a balloon at 128,120 feet Sunday, breaking the record for the highest altitude skydive in history. UPDATE: Baumgartner’s top speed was officially Mach 1.24, or 833.9 miles per hour, making him the first human to break the sound barrier outside of an aircraft. Baumgartner Leaps From 24 Miles, Breaks Sound Barrier 

Space jump: Felix Baumgartner describes his skydive

nice video!