BY BILL FERRIS
This video takes James May, the host of Britain’s Top Gear TV show, on board an American U2 spy plane as it flies to the very edge of outer space. You have to see the video to appreciate how high these things fly — a commercial air liner flying below them looks like a speck of dust, the curvature of the earth is plainly visible, and the pilot and host each have to wear space helmets just to stay alive, for crying out loud. This quote sums it up nicely: “If this were 1955 we’d be considered space men. Becasue at that height the atmosphere would kill you as certainly as space would. You’d just boil, you’d be dead in seconds.”
Your science class will be amazed by the visuals. Your history class will get some good context for when you talk about the 1960 U-2 incident. Hopefully this will tide your class over until commercial space travel catches on.