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What Would Happen to You if You Were Exposed to Space?

17 May 2017, 22:02 UTC
What Would Happen to You if You Were Exposed to Space?
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

An empty Russian Orlan space suit released on Feb. 3, 2006 as part of the SuitSat experiment.
We’ve all seen it in some form or another in science fiction movies: a character suddenly finds themself exposed, sans protective suit, to the vacuum of space. Maybe it was a crack in their suit or helmet, or they were caught in an open airlock, or they were sucked out of a hole in a spacecraft hull—possibly by their own fault or through the accidental or malicious actions of another. From that point on, what happens to them seems to be up to the imagination of the director. Do they swell and explode? Do they freeze solid? Does the unfiltered UV light from the Sun broil them? Or do they just run out of oxygen and black out?

Fortunately there hasn’t been an instance when an astronaut found him or herself caught out in the open vacuum of space. (There was an accident though in 1971 when three Russian cosmonauts died inside their returning Soyuz capsule as a result of a broken valve.) But there has been research on the effects of decompression and exposure to vacuum, and there are physicians who also ...

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