It would seem that record breaking is all around us, quite literally. It is remarkable that this year two men will be attempting records that will take them respectively as high and as low as is humanly possible within the confines of this planet, within only a few months of each other. I am of course referring to Felix Baumgartner (Austria) and James Cameron (U.S.) who will each be exploring opposite ends of the record-breaking spectrum in a bid to break records that have stood for over 50 years. Much has been written about both men and their projects but it is unavoidably noteworthy that both these endeavors will come to fruition this very same year after literally decades of preparation.
The depths of the ocean and the edge of space hold equal fascination. The hostile, unknown nature of both provide opportunities that for most of us remain confined to the pages of a Jules Verne novel. As Cameron has said, "Imagination feeds exploration. You have to imagine the possible before you can go and do it". It really is a testament to the human spirit that these men should venture into such environments as they seek to explore how far the boundaries can be pushed. This is truly record-breaking at its most courageous and the two men chasing this moment of wonder should be applauded and celebrated. This is the stuff legends are made of; this is how history is made and records are broken.
There are no mysterious Lincoln/Kennedy symmetries between the two men but the parallels of the attempts are remarkably striking:
It is a momentous occasion whenever any major superlative is attempted and history is full of brave men and women who have sought to explore the unknown and educate the human race further about what is or isn't possible. "It's human nature to want to go faster and further," Kittinger has said when referencing Baumgartner's attempt highlighting this sentiment.
It is said that the first recorded parachute jump was in 1797 when André-Jacques Garnerin dropped from about 6,500 feet over Parc Monceau, Paris in a 23-foot-diameter parachute made of white canvas. In similar historical symmetry to this year's events, the earliest practical submarine is considered to be American Robert Fulton's Nautilus which was first tested in dives in the Seine near Rouen beginning July 29, 1800. Little did they know that 200 years later their early forays would lead to equally historic events in 2012.
Guinness World Records wishes James Cameron and Felix Baumgartner and their teams only the very best and we look forward to the successful completion of their missions and celebrating yet another milestone in the inspirational world of record-breaking.
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