Dr Wittenberg: You need to put a mask on your face and please hold it like this.
This is an altitude chamber it simulates the low oxygen concentration you get at high altitude and provokes an entirely different form of hypoxia. In the human centrifuge Michael had the blood pushed from his brain to his feet. In the altitude chamber there will be plenty of blood in his brain but hardly any oxygen in his blood.
Dr Meeuwsen: Michael how are you feeling?
Michael: A little tense.
Dr Meeuwsen: A little tense. I will ask you to remove the mask at eight or nine thousand feet and then you will experience a rapid decompression.
This is a risky experiment as unconsciousness can occur quite suddenly.
Michael: That was a sudden change.
Dr Meeuwsen: That's what we call a rapid decompression. Just recover.
Dr Whittenberg: Tell me what you're experiencing.
Michael: A little bit giddy. A little bit light headed.
Physiologist Doctor Jans Wittenberg is monitoring Michael's condition by asking him to complete basic tasks.
Dr Wittenberg: Can you show me by sticking up your fingers how much nine minus five is.
Michael: Nine minus five would be four.
Dr Wittenberg: Excellent, what card is this?
Michael: That's the eight of clubs.
Dr Wittenberg: Excellent.
Michael's brain is suffering from oxygen starvation making him feel drunk, euphoric and over confident.
Dr Wittenberg: Can you hold this up for me?
Michael: I can hold it up, yes.
Dr Wittenberg: And can you put the shape in it as well.
Michael: Alright I'm looking for, I'm looking for...I can't see that one.
Dr Wittenber: It's here, see?
Dr Wittenberg: What kind of card is this?
Michael: It's the three of diamonds.
Dr Wittenberg: Three of diamonds?
Dr Wittenberg: Got another shape for you, can you put it in?
Michael: Yes it's the star, yes.
Michael will eventually face an ultimate test. Will he be able to switch his oxygen back on and save his life? Or will he be too far gone to care?
Dr Wittenberg: How much is eight minus three?
Michael: Eight minus three is four.
Dr Wittenberg: Is it four?
Michael: Eight minus three. No eight minus three is....
Michael is dangerously hypoxic.
Dr Wittenberg: Okay I think it's time to recover Michael, can you put up the switches. Six minutes, put up the switches or you will die.
Dr Meeuwsen: Just swing the mask back on.
He's experiencing what appears to be the perfect method of execution and he doesn't care.
Dr Wittenberg: Put up the switches or you will die. Put up the switches....
Dr Wittenberg: Can you tell me how you feel now? How do you feel?
Michael: I feel much better.
Dr Wittenberg: Jolly good. How much is eight minus three.
Michael: Five. Definitely five.
Dr Wittenberg: Thank you.
Michael: Yeah, yeah.
Dr Meeuwsen: Okay Jans thank you. Michael.
Michael: Where are we now Captain?
Dr Meeuwsen: Well actually you are descending now to sea level again, we are at twenty six thousand feet.
Michael: How much longer until I would have been unconscious?
Dr Meeuwsen: Well a matter of seconds.
Dr Meeuwsen: I guess ten to twenty seconds and then...
Michael: And from there to death?
Dr Meeuwsen: That's your final destination then.
Michael: If Jans hadn't stepped in then...
Dr Meeuwsen: He saved your life today.
Michael: You're kidding
Dr Meeuwsen: Be very thankful.
Michael: Thank you Jans.
Dr Meeuwsen: But overall Michael was it painful?
Michael: No, I thought the experiment was a failure because I was getting all the answers right. Did I get all the answers right?
Dr Meeuwsen: In the end no.
Dr Meeuwsen: Yes.
Michael: I thought I was doing really well. I thought I'd outwitted you.