A week ago, as President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were facing a historic election, small dolls that look like them had just plummeted to Earth from the edge of space.
Following in the footsteps of Felix Baumgartner, who broke the sound barrier during a historic jump last month, mini-Romney and mini-Obama escalated toward the heavens in a balloon, reaching 120,000 feet – nearly as high as Baumgartner.
They got there through a project by Earth to Sky Calculus, a group of middle and high school “science enthusiasts” in Bishop, California. They’re practicing “launching balloons into the stratosphere for a satellite launch in 2013.”
Thanks to their adviser, Tony Phillips, for sending along these images of what I like to call “Bobblegangers.” Be sure to click the video to watch the floating – followed by the plunges. And send us your best captions.
Who should get to jump next from the edge of space – vicariously, via smiling figurine, of course?
(CNN) - Felix Baumgartner jumped from the edge of space. James Cameron plunged to the ocean's lowest depths.
Baumgartner broke the sound barrier. Cameron discovered an "alien world."
Call them daredevils, explorers, neither or both. No matter what, their record-breaking solo feats, backed up by teams of specialists, literally raised and lowered the bar for human achievement.
So, for others aspiring to chart new terrain, what's next?
We asked for your ideas.
Journey to the center of the Earth
Martin Samuels and John O'Connor wrote us on Facebook, saying it's time to work on getting lower. Way, way lower.
James Cameron plunged to the lowest point in the ocean.
"Journey down in to the center of Earth," wrote Samuels. O'Connor added, "Jules Verne for real!"
That may be a very, very, very long way away, but downward steps are already being taken in that direction.
A new $1 billion mission plans to drill 3.7 miles beneath the sea floor to reach the Earth's mantle, a nearly 1,900-mile-thick layer of slowly deforming rock between the crust and the core, which makes up the majority of the planet.
What we learn below can go a long way toward showing us what's above. The deepest crack found in the Earth's crust, on the Caribbean Sea floor, included signs of life - which could indicate that alien life could exist on other planets, according to NASA.
Walk on Mars
"Obviously, the first person to set foot on Mars is the next big story," wrote Matt James Tiberius Kazan.
Again, a far jump (ha ha) from anything Baumgartner and Cameron have done, and more in the realm of astronauts' incredible achievements - but, again, a big new goal explorers are working on.
In fact, it could happen within 20 to 30 years, according to Charles Elachi, director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
"I think engineering-wise, we know how to do it to some level. We still need a lot of development and a few inventions to do that," Elachi told CNN. "So at the end it would become a question of national will if we want to keep our exploration, expand our vision and expand our exploration in the next 20 to 30 years."
In the meantime, NASA is celebrating the success of the Mars rover Curiosity.FULL STORY
Oscar-winning director James Cameron resurfaced Monday after plunging to the deepest known point in the world's oceans in his one-man submersible.
His history-making solo venture to Challenger Deep, part of the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean, left him feeling "complete isolation from all of humanity," he said.
"I felt like I literally in the space of one day have gone to another planet and come back."
At more than 10,900 meters (about 35,800 feet), the Mariana Trench is deeper than Mount Everest is tall. It has had only two previous human visitors: U.S. Navy Lt. Don Walsh and the late Swiss explorer Jacques Piccard, who descended to that spot in 1960.