Will ice melt in a cold, dark vacuum?

12 August 2012

Question

Will ice melt in dark vacuum if the temperature of the base on which it is kept is equal to its temperature?

Answer

Chris - [In our previous question,] you're saying that your body fluids exposed to a very low pressure will boil and therefore, you will lose them as a gas. So if I had some ice in space, what happens to that? Does that boil off as well?"

Dominic - Yes. Boil isn't actually quite the right word because boiling is going from a liquid state to a gaseous state. In fact, the very low temperatures in the dark coldness of space, there is no liquid state. You go straight from solid ice to vapour. So the word is 'sublime' for going from a solid to a gas, but ice particles will tend to sublime into the gaseous state, yes.

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