Thompson agreed, noting that given the right safety gear and the right conditions, there's "a remote possibility" a space crew could survive even under such harsh circumstances as were faced by the space shuttle Columbia astronauts.
All seven astronauts perished as Columbia returned to Earth on Feb. 1, 2003. One of the crew, Laurel Clark, was married to the former NASA flight surgeon who led Baumgartner's medical team, Dr. Jonathan Clark.
"You never know what the possibilities are ... that's the direction we need to look at," Thompson said.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.