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Google Exec Breaks The Record For Highest Altitude Jump

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Image: Rico Shen
Google Executive and World Record holder, Alan Eustace. Image: Rico Shen

On Oct. 14, 2012, Felix Baumgartner broke the record for making the highest altitude jump. He jumped out of a helium balloon 39 kilometres in the air. That altitude is known as “near-space”—it’s not quite “space” but it’s close.

Now, Baumgartner’s record has been broken.

Alan Eustace, 57 years old, is an executive at Google. On Oct. 24, he jumped out of a balloon from a height of more than 41 kilometres.

It took him more than two hours to get up that high, and just 15 minutes to come down.

During his descent, he travelled at speeds as fast as 1,322 kilometres an hour, breaking the sound barrier.

When Baumgartner made his jump, it was with a large team of expensive scientists and a lot of very expensive equipment. It was well-publicized—in other words, many people knew about it.

Eustace, on the other hand, planned his jump without many people knowing about it and he used a lot less equipment. He said he wanted to take a simpler approach to his jump than Baumgartner’s.

Although Google offered to give him money to help him plan his jump, he rejected their offer because he said he didn’t want it to be seen as a marketing event for the company.

Eustace told the New York Times newspaper that he has loved space and spaceflight ever since he was little. He grew up in Florida and many times his family drove to Cape Canaveral, Florida, to watch rocket launches at the air force station there.

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CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
In a New York Times article about Eustace’s jump, the person who verified Eustace’s record said, “I think they’re putting a little lookout tower at the edge of space that the common man can share.”

What do you think that man (named James Hayhurst) means by that?

Reading Prompt: Demonstrating Understanding
Write a tew sentence decription of today’s article. Try to capture the attention of a potential reader. Why might they find today’s article interesting?

When completed, add a third sentence, “Today on Teaching Kids News!”

Junior
Demonstrate understanding of a variety of texts by summarizing important ideas and citing supporting details (OME, Reading: 1.4).

Intermediate
Demonstrate understanding of increasingly complex texts by summarizing important ideas and citing a variety of details that support the main idea (OME, Reading: 1.4).

Language Feature: “-eight
Today’s article is all about height. “Height” is a very tricky word to spell for a few reasons: (1) “-eight” is pronounced as “ate and is the word for the number 8; (2) the letter combination is uncommon. In fact, there are only a handful of words that end “-eight.”

How many can you name? Challenge a friend. Stump an adult.