If humans went into space without wearing a space suit, imagine what would happen?
According to Live Science, Hollywood movies often exaggerate the situation with people not protected by spacesuits going to explode or freeze to death instantly.
In reality, the consequences are roughly the same, but not to the extent of the movie.
An astronaut floating in space without a spacesuit certainly wouldn’t be able to survive, but their death would happen within minutes, not seconds. And it would be an uncomfortable death, with the body fluids boiling, the nose and mouth almost frozen.
How does death in space take place?
Space is a vacuum without air. This means that unlike on Earth, there is no atmosphere and no pressure created by air molecules.
Atmospheric pressure determines the temperature at which a liquid boils and turns to a gas. If the air pressure outside the liquid is high, like it is at sea level on Earth, it will be difficult for air bubbles to form, rise to the surface, and escape. But because there is almost no atmospheric pressure in space, the boiling point of liquids drops dramatically.”As you can imagine, with 60 percent of the human body made up of water, this is a serious problem,” said Dr. Kris Lehnhardt, a physician in space medicine at NASA. In the absence of pressure, the liquid water in our bodies boils – instantly going from liquid to gas.
“In essence, all body tissues that contain water will begin to expand,” he said.According to NASA’s space travel data book, the vacuum in space will also suck air out of your lungs, suffocating you within minutes. After the initial flow of air has flowed out, the vacuum will continue to draw air and water vapor from your body through your respiratory tract.
The constant boiling of water will also produce a cooling effect – the evaporation of water molecules will absorb heat from your body and cause the parts near your nose and mouth to almost freeze. The rest of your body will also freeze, but slower because not much evaporation is happening.
As astrophysicist Paul Sutter told Forbes, temperature is a measure of how much energy atoms and molecules move. But because the space is almost empty, it doesn’t move much, making it “cold”. This also means, there is no matter in space to transfer heat. However, a person can freeze as the water in their body evaporates and heat is lost due to the radiation emitted from their body.Some people have actually been exposed to near-vacuum environments but have survived and told the story. In 1966, aeronautical engineer Jim LeBlanc at NASA was helping test the space suit in a giant vacuum chamber when the pressurized gas supply to his suit was cut off.
Jim LeBlanc later recalled: “I tripped backwards, I could feel the saliva on my tongue start to bubble right before I passed out, and that was the last thing I remember.”The formation of air bubbles in body fluids, known as ebullism, also occurs in deep-water scuba divers and rises to the surface too quickly because they are traveling from a pressurized aquatic environment. high to low pressure on the water surface.
For astronauts not wearing protective clothing, the blood flowing in the veins boils more slowly than the water in the tissues because the circulatory system has its own internal pressure. Ebullism in the body’s tissues will happen more quickly.
A 2013 review in the journal Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance looked at times when humans and animals were exposed to a vacuum, and found that they lost consciousness within 10 seconds. Some of them then lose control of the bowel system, the muscles become swollen, restricting blood flow to the heart, because the enlarged muscles act as an airlock.
“Not a single human can survive – death can happen in less than two minutes,” said Dr. Lehnhardt.