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Author Topic: Can your blood boil in the vacuum of space if you have a cut on your arm?  (Read 5717 times)

Offline Xin

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** Minor Spoiler alert for those that haven't seen the new Star Trek movie **

I was reading an article on Bad Astronomy about the science in the new Star Trek movie, and one of the scenes that was mentioned was when Bones was concerned their transporter might crack and they'd be exposed to space where your blood would boil. BA mentioned that it wouldn't happen because your blood is sealed up in your body, which is air tight. But what if you had a cut on your arm that was exposing your blood? Would it boil and would it cause the rest of your blood in your body to boil?


 

Offline Don_1

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Good grief!!! Do you really have the nerve to question the science in Star Trek???? Next thing, you'll be telling me you question Dr Who's ability to travel through time!

I would have thought that exposed to the vacuum of space, our gas rich body would instantly explode. Let's get a few volunteers to test this theory, step forward Gordon Brown, Oliver Letwin.......
 

lyner

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AFAIK, your body can handle excess internal pressure of 1 At. I say that on the grounds that, when diving under water, you need no decompression stops after an unlimited dive at 10m to avoid decompression sickness (the bends). You may fart a bit extra and, of course, you have to breathe out during decompression or your lungs will burst. We seem to handle other pockets of gas, including the gas in the blood, because the internal ones will be maintained at 1 At by the tissue containing them.
The pressure changes in space are far less violent than for even modest underwater situations.

I am pretty certain that 'they' will already have tried it of animals in decompression chambers (awwww, shame). I bet Utube will have some disgusting movies somewhere.
« Last Edit: 12/05/2009 12:11:01 by sophiecentaur »
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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If there is, I can't find any. Youtube that is.
 

Offline LukyTom

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I was thinking, has anyone tried the ballon in vaccum experiment? It was to test the hypothesis that soudn required a medium to travel through. However it got me thinking, if hypothetically speaking, we threw a ballon with infinite elasticity, filled with gas i.e. oxygen into space, filled with air. How long will the ballon keep on expanding? Will it be infinitely, or will there be a point where the  gas just cannot expand anymore.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Blood is mainly water and that can be shown to boil in a vacuum chamber at pressures much higher than space.
Why bother with an animal test? This sort of thing makes my blood boil!

Of course the vacuum of space would cause you some other problems. The moisture in your eyes and nose/ throat/ lungs would all boil and very shortly after that you would run out of oxygen. If you tried to hold your breath you would discover the effect of atmospheric pressure on only one side of the chest wall. My prediction is that it would be messy and, briefly, painful.
 

lyner

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The long term effect would clearly be fatal but there will be a 'safe' exposure time. It's just a matter of how long.
I remember the mythical frog in a bell jar experiment we used to discuss in School.

"makes your blood boil"? Calm down dear, it's only a thought experiment!
 

Offline Bored chemist

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"there will be a 'safe' exposure time"
"Ah, this is obviously some strange use of the word 'safe' that I wasn't previously aware of." As Arthur would say

Incidentally, if that frog had been eating beans the results would be rather messy and or fatal.
 

Offline JP

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lyner

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"there will be a 'safe' exposure time"
"Ah, this is obviously some strange use of the word 'safe' that I wasn't previously aware of." As Arthur would say

Incidentally, if that frog had been eating beans the results would be rather messy and or fatal.
The above link has the information. The word "safe" is a relative one. Perhaps "non-fatal" would be better.
 

Offline Raghavendra

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we can't say that our skin damages in vaccum, but it will remove the air present the body....
 
 

Offline Bored chemist

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we can't say that our skin damages in vaccum, but it will remove the air present the body....
 
You might not be able to say that a vacuum will damage skin, but I think a lot of other people can.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love-bite

In addition it would also remove moisture from the skin which will damage it.
 

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