Pretty often I’ll hear things said like “so-and-so was the first reptile in space” or something. I hear it so often, quoted as part of a fact, that it suggests that there is some definition of where space begins that everyone has agreed upon. Unforunately, I’ve never heard this definition.
Perhaps if I knew this I could figure out the difference between Alan Sheppard (sp?) and John Glenn’s achievements … one was the first American in space, the other was the first American to…?
Also, if I knew this I could figure out what the first man-made object in space was. I think it is an artillery shell fired from Germany Kaiser Wilhelm Geschutz during the First World War, but I’ve never heard anyone say that. It’s just that the cannon is said to be “transatmospheric” which sounds to me like sending its projectile in space.
What I’m looking for is a quantitative definition, if any exists. Space may very well begin where the atmosphere stops, but that doesn’t tell me much, given that atmosphere charts never have a line on them that says “atmosphere stops here”; they usually just seem to extend upwards indefinitely into lower and lower pressures.
Any similarity in the above text to an English word or phrase is purely coincidental.