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Author Topic: What happens to a body exposed to the vacuum of space?  (Read 2110 times)

Offline thedoc

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Ahmed Youssef  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Hello, excellent show... I'm an addict.

I have a theoretical question about being exposed to outer space. If a person were to be instantly exposed to outer space, perhaps something like an astronaut opening his/her space suit while floating outside their vehicle, would the person explode first due to the lack of air pressure, or freeze first because of the lack of heat?

Thanks,

Ahmed

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 12/03/2012 09:11:01 by _system »


 

Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: What happens to a body exposed to the vacuum of space?
« Reply #1 on: 12/03/2012 15:33:15 »
Yes, the body would not hold up to the pressure... all the soft parts of your internal body would be squeezed out of the dermeological shell we call our protective skin.

Not a nice thought at all.
 

Online syhprum

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Re: What happens to a body exposed to the vacuum of space?
« Reply #2 on: 12/03/2012 17:15:25 »
Accidents have happened and animal tests have been made, no one bursts although they lose conscious pretty quickly due to loss of Oxygen.
all those accidently exposed survived. 
 

Offline Ęthelwulf

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Re: What happens to a body exposed to the vacuum of space?
« Reply #3 on: 12/03/2012 19:29:18 »
Accidents have happened and animal tests have been made, no one bursts although they lose conscious pretty quickly due to loss of Oxygen.
all those accidently exposed survived.

May we have some links?
 

Online syhprum

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Re: What happens to a body exposed to the vacuum of space?
« Reply #4 on: 12/03/2012 20:28:18 »
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: What happens to a body exposed to the vacuum of space?
« Reply #5 on: 12/03/2012 21:06:44 »
Hah, seem to remember having a discussion somewhere, though I don't remember where or with whom.


"A few recent Hollywood films showed people instantly freezing solid when exposed to vacuum. In one of these, the scientist character mentioned that the temperature was "minus 273"-- that is, absolute zero.

But in a practical sense, space doesn't really have a temperature-- you can't measure a temperature on a vacuum, something that isn't there. The residual molecules that do exist aren't enough to have much of any effect. Space isn't "cold," it isn't "hot", it really isn't anything.

What space is, though, is a very good insulator. (In fact, vacuum is the secret behind thermos bottles.) Astronauts tend to have more problem with overheating than keeping warm.

If you were exposed to space without a spacesuit, your skin would most feel slightly cool, due to water evaporating off you skin, leading to a small amount of evaporative cooling.

But you wouldn't freeze solid!"

Vacuum a isolator?

Yep.

Nice link :)
 

Offline JP

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Re: What happens to a body exposed to the vacuum of space?
« Reply #6 on: 12/03/2012 21:36:56 »
As far as Hollywood films go, 2001 was pretty accurate:

 

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Re: What happens to a body exposed to the vacuum of space?
« Reply #6 on: 12/03/2012 21:36:56 »

 

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