Dive into history and meet Evangelista Torricelli, an illustrious Italian physicist, and mathematician. In 1643, he ushered in a revolutionary era of scientific measurement with the invention of the barometer. This essential tool, which gauges atmospheric pressure, inspired Torricelli’s profound realization: “We are essentially dwelling deep under an air ocean.”
Venture up to an altitude of approximately 59,000 feet, and you’ll encounter the perilous Armstrong Limit. At this daunting height, the atmospheric pressure plunges so drastically that water boils at the very temperature of the human body. The implications are dire: staying in such conditions can cause a swift loss of consciousness and, tragically, death within a mere 60 to 90 seconds. Interestingly, the atmospheric makeup of Mars sits permanently below this Armstrong Limit. Here, the water in a human’s lungs would spontaneously boil.
A fascinating quirk of nature: at standard atmospheric pressure, boiling water will stubbornly refuse to heat beyond 100°C. No matter how much heat you apply, the water remains at this temperature threshold. However, the rising steam can, in fact, exceed this limit, presenting a scalding contrast to the water below.