Tuesday, August 15, 2006

People Don't Explode in Space

When a friend and I were discussing the topic of what would happen to an unprotected person in open space, we assumed it would be something horrible and immediate - like explosion.

We couldn't place why we thought this. Just seemed like one of those things - your space suit breaks and you explode. We thought it might have to do with watching sci fi movies, but couldn't really think of a single instance of people-exploding due to space exposure in cinema. Hmm.

Turns out, you don't explode. Yes, you will die after a minute or so, but it's just kinda uncomfortable before you do so. It is possible to survive for short time.

From NASA:

If you don't try to hold your breath, exposure to space for half a minute or so is unlikely to produce permanent injury. Holding your breath is likely to damage your lungs, something scuba divers have to watch out for when ascending, and you'll have eardrum trouble if your Eustachian tubes are badly plugged up, but theory predicts -- and animal experiments confirm -- that otherwise, exposure to vacuum causes no immediate injury. You do not explode. Your blood does not boil. You do not freeze. You do not instantly lose consciousness

Be sure to check the full answer for some tongue-boiling.