Migration altitude
Welcome to the space elevator, the only elevator that goes to space.
As you climb, the temperature will continue to drop.
Cirrus clouds are wispy clouds made out of ice crystals.
Cirrocumulus are patchy clouds that can blanket the sky.
Cumulonimbus are tall, towering clouds that can produce lightning, tornadoes, and hail.
Mil V-12
Largest helicopter ever built
Hang Gliding
Typical altitude
NASA Helios HP01
Winged aircraft altitude record
Nimbostratus clouds are responsible for rainy days.
de Havilland Vampire
1948 altitude record
Bell X-1
First aircraft to break the sound barrier
Vostok 1
On the way to space
Learjet 45
Douglas DC-3
Blériot XI
First plane to cross the English Channel
Alpine Chough
Typical altitude
White Stork
Cessna 172
Party Balloons
Liolaemus Lizard
Highest-dwelling reptile
Mil Mi-8
Bald Eagle
Wild Yak
Himalayan Jumping Spider
Highest-dwelling spider
Vega 5b
Amelia Earhart's plane
Highest observed flight
Bell 47
First helicopter to fly over the Alps
Bell X-2
Bar-Tailed Godwit
Flycatcher Sandwort
Himalayan flowering plant
Yellow-Rumped Leaf-Eared Mouse
Highest-dwelling mammal
Bearded Vulture
Max altitude
Above this altitude is known as the "death zone", because there isn't enough oxygen for human life.
Whooper Swan
Mount Everest Peak
Box Kite
Highest flying kite
Andean Condor
Bar-headed Goose
Sopwith Camel
WWI fighter plane
P-80 Shooting Star
P-51 Mustang
WWII fighter plane
Passenger Jet
Typical cruising altitude
Common Crane
An-225 Mriya
Heaviest plane ever built
Ruppell's Griffon Vulture
Highest flying bird
SA 315B Lama
Highest flying helicopter
Mountain Goat
Welcome to the stratosphere.
Unlike the troposphere, the temperature in the stratosphere increases the higher you go.
The stratosphere is home to the ozone layer, which protects us from harmful UV rays.
You are currently in the troposphere, the lowest layer of the atmosphere.
The troposphere contains 99% of the water vapor in the atmosphere.
This elevator ride needs some music...
Jet streams are bands of strong winds in the atmosphere. They can reach speeds of up to 450 km/h.
Don't worry, the elevator is pretty strong... I think.
The air in the mesosphere is very thin. It has less than 1% of the pressure as the air at sea level.
Congratulations! You have reached the mesosphere and are now halfway to space.
Sounding Rocket
V-2 Rocket
Peak altitude
This is the coldest part of Earth's atmosphere.
Since weather balloons can't reach this height, rockets with sensors are used to learn more about the mesosphere.
Welcome to the thermosphere, the final layer on our journey to space.
At 100 km high, the Kármán line is usually accepted as the start of outer space.
You are about to reach a place fewer than 1,000 humans have ever been.
Now leaving Earth.
Temperatures in the thermosphere can reach 2,500°C, but molecules are so far apart that you wouldn't even feel it.
Highest Aircraft Ejection
This is the Armstrong limit - above this altitude your saliva and tears will boil if you don't have a pressure suit.
Nacreous clouds are rare clouds found in polar regions. They are made of small ice particles that scatter light in colorful ways.
1933 balloon altitude record
Hot Air Balloon
Airbus Zephyr
High-altitude platform station
Monarch Butterfly
As air pressure drops, so does the temperature needed to boil water. At this altitude, water boils at just 54°C.
As the air gets thinner, there are fewer molecules to scatter light. So the sky starts getting darker.
The SR-71 is one of the fastest planes ever made. It can fly at over 3 times the speed of sound.
Now would be a good time to pick out your space suit.
It's a bit chilly, pick a scarf to stay warm.
Perlan II
Highest altitude glider
Sud-Ouest Trident II
1958 rocket plane altitude record
F-104 Starfighter
Space Shuttle Re-entry
Maximum heat
The mushroom cloud from the largest ever nuclear test, the Tsar Bomba, reached this altitude.
Weather Balloon
Experimental hypersonic aircraft
The ash cloud from the eruption that destroyed Pompeii reached this height.
If you've ever wondered where your lost balloons went, at this height a typical party balloon will pop.
Highest paper airplane flight
Launched from a balloon, this is the highest a paper airplane has flown.
Felix Freefall
Felix Baumgartner was the first person to break the sound barrier in freefall. He reached a top speed of 1,356 km/h.
Congratulations! You have made it 0.01% to the moon.
Space Shuttle
Reaches max aerodynamic pressure
The mushroom cloud from the Castle Bravo nuclear test reached this altitude.
Chelyabinsk Meteor
Airburst altitude
Space elevators are actually a possible idea being considered by scientists.
They could potentially offer a cheaper and safer way of getting to space.
The hard part is making a strong enough cable. And finding enough elevator music...
Sutter's Mill Meteor
Breakup altitude
Sprites are a rare form of lightning spotted over thunderstorms that only last a fraction of a second.
While normal lightning is around 4 km long, sprites can reach lengths of up to 50 km.
Since the speed of sound depends on the temperature, sound travels 15% slower up here.
The world's fastest elevator travels at 74 km/h. A space elevator with the same speed would take 80 minutes to reach space.
Blue jets are a rare form of lightning that arc upward in a brilliant blue flash.
Spy plane
Noctilucent clouds are the highest altitude clouds in the atmosphere. They are only visible at night and at higher latitudes.
Most meteors burn up in the mesosphere. It's estimated that over 48 tons of meteors hit the atmosphere every day.
SR-71 Blackbird
1976 altitude record
Caproni Ca.161
1938 altitude record
Project Excelsior
1960 skydive altitude record
With nothing but a duct-taped pressure suit, Joseph Kittinger jumped from an open gondola and set a record that would last more than 50 years.
Sukhoi Su-9
Explorer II
1935 balloon altitude record
Douglas Skyrocket
First aircraft to reach Mach 2
Saturn V
First stage separation
High altitude balloon record
As particles from the sun hit the atmosphere, they excite the atoms in the air.
These excited atoms start to glow, creating brilliant displays of light called auroras.
Highest flying rocket plane
Kármán line
Chilean Flamingo
Alan Eustace's Skydive
Current record for highest skydive
Space Shuttle
Boosters eject
VSS Unity
Falcon 9
First stage separation
Created by Neal Agarwal
Birds & planes by Cindy Nhi
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