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Math in the News Felix Baumgartner’s dramatic jump broke the speed of sound. Felix Baumgartner plunged to Earth in a dramatic supersonic drop. He dropped from over 100,000 ft. and quickly accelerated downward. But his speed leveled off to what’s known as the terminal velocity. What is terminal velocity? In this issue we look at the graphs of objects in motion with and without wind resistance to get a better understanding of terminal velocity.

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Math in the News Watch this video to see Baumgartner’s descent. http://www.redbullstratos.com/gallery/?mediaId=media19027077390 01

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Math in the News This BBC article also shows a graph of descent. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk- england-cambridgeshire- 19947060

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Math in the News In free-fall, when there is no wind resistance, a speed-vs-time graph is parabolic. Speed is constantly increasing.

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Math in the News The downward change in speed (acceleration) is due to the force of gravity. Without an opposing force, speed increases quadratically.

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Math in the News But the Earth’s atmosphere provides the opposing force, slowing down the downward motion. The force of wind resistance increases as the speed of the object increases.

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Math in the News With wind resistance, eventually the downward force and the resisting force are balanced, resulting in a constant speed. This is the terminal velocity.

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