Up until mid century, the fastest thing in the world,apart from light, was sound. Travelling at 343 meters per second (1230 kph or 767 mph), sound was faster than even the most devastating craft of war. But then, in 1947, Air Force Captain Charles “Chuck” Yeager broke the sound barrier in Glamorous Glennis, his Bell X-1 aircraft. It was such an accomplishment at the time that he and the team he worked with were honored at the White House by Commander in Chief Harry S. Truman.The next year, in 1948, a Northrop unmanned rocket sled became the first land vehicle to achieve supersonic speed, reaching 1,020 mph before careening off the rails. “She jumps the tracks! Rocket on a rampage!” The news announcer chirped on a broadcast announcing the news.Then, in 2010, Felix Baumgartner became the first human projectile to break the sound barrier when he successfully completed a Red Bull sponsored free fall from the edge of the atmosphere down to the New Mexican desert. In short, humans like speed. We like extremes. We like telling Mother Nature that, with labs, we can supersede her.

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