United States. Google’s Senior Vice President Alan Eustace, 57, jumped from a high-altitude air balloon near the top of the stratosphere Friday, breaking the world record for highest free fall jump. The air balloon took off from an abandoned airport in Roswell, N.M. and reached an altitude of 135,890 feet before Eustace, wearing a carefully designed spacesuit with a life-support system, cut his ties to the balloon. He fell at a speed of 822 miles per hour, faster than the speed of sound. Eustace set off a minor sonic boom as he fell, yet claims he did not hear it. “It was a wild, wild ride,” he said upon landing.
New York Times
Australia. Surgeons at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney have successfully performed the world’s first heart transplant using a technically “dead” heart. Most heart transplants involve taking the heart of a person who is brain-dead but still has a beating heart, but in this case, the heart being transplanted had stopped beating. Doctors used a machine to keep the heart warm, restore its beating and provide the muscles with a nourishing fluid. It is believed that this “heart-in-a-box” method could save up to 30 percent more lives of those needing transplants. Doctors at St. Vincent say it is too early to tell if this will become standard procedure, but three adults in Australia have fully recovered from this type of transplant so far.
Great Britain. Queen Elizabeth II sent her first tweet on Friday, joining Twitter for the opening of the “Information Age” exhibit at the Science Museum in London. The Queen removed her signature white gloves to tweet, “It is a pleasure to open the Information Age exhibition today at the Science Museum and I hope you enjoy visiting. Elizabeth R.” Her account, @BritishMonarchy, is usually run by her public relations staff, but this was the first tweet written by the Queen herself. The message currently has 40,000 retweets and 43,000 favorites. Thousands of fans replied to the tweet, including several asking for a selfie of the Queen.
Los Angeles Times
China. The Chinese space program launched a lunar mission early Friday morning. The mission is the first time China has launched a lunar spacecraft capable of returning to Earth. The empty spacecraft took off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the Sichuan region of western China. This launch will test the speed of the craft—if it travels too quickly, it could overheat when re-entering Earth’s atmosphere. Chief designer of the exploration program Hu Hao explained that if this test mission proves successful, they hope to send astronauts to the moon in 2017 to collect soil samples.