Ever Wonder How Far You Can Fall Without Dying?


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Have you ever leaned over a balcony's ledge in a high-rise building and wondered what would happen if someone pushed you? Would you survive? Could you survive? What is the farther a person can fall without landing in their grave?

Mental Floss's Jake Rossen asked that question recently, and the answer he found is somewhat shocking. It all depends on how you fall and upon what you land.

Stretching out time is the key to survival, according to James Kakalios, a professor at the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota.

Falling face down, splayed out in a belly flop position is your best bet. "Increasing that drag is the biggest factor in keeping you alive," Kakalios explained.

Also, you want to land on a surface that will increase the time of impact. Something that gives. Hitting asphalt is an instantaneous impact. But landing in a snow bank actually takes a tiny bit longer. And that might be enough to save you.

"People who have survived falls, they’ve managed to increase that time, even if it’s in milliseconds. From one millisecond to three, that’s three times longer, three times less force needed for the same change in momentum."

Believe it or not, in 1943, a U.S. soldier named Alan Magee was forced to abandon his B-17 at 20,000 feet.

He survived a nearly four-mile fall by crashing through the glass roof of a train station. The glass slowed him down just enough so that his many, many wounds could be treated.

Interestingly, Magee would have reached terminal velocity (the fastest a thing can fall) well before hitting that glass roof.

So, he could have theoretically fallen from three—maybe even five—times that altitude with the exact same results, according to Paul Doherty, a physicist at the Exploratorium in San Francisco.

If you get up too high, the air is really thin, and the blood rushing to your brain can kill you before you hit the ground.

So, what is the farther a person can fall without landing in their grave?

"Let’s say 60,000," Doherty offered to Rossen. "Up to 100,000 if you wake up after passing out. And if your blood doesn’t boil."

Fuente: distractify.com
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