• Question: what would happen if someone got lost in space and could they survive or not? and if you guys don't know the answer to this just tell me I wont mind

    Asked by livid to Chloe, Irene, Ricardo, Uday on 18 Nov 2015.
    • Photo: Irene Regan

      Irene Regan answered on 18 Nov 2015:


      Great Q:)

      Outer space is a very dangerous place. If you were to step outside a spacecraft, such as the International Space Station, or on a world with little or no atmosphere such as the moon or Mars without the protection of a space suit, then the following things would happen:
      You would lose consciousness because there is no oxygen. This could occur in as little as 15 seconds.
      Because there is no air pressure to keep your blood and body fluids in a liquid state, the fluids would “boil.”
      Because the “boiling process” would cause them to lose heat energy rapidly, the fluids would freeze before they were evaporated totally (There is a cool display in San Francisco’s science museum, The Exploratorium, that demonstrates this principle!). This process could take from 30 seconds to 1 minute.
      So, it was possible for astronaut David Bowman in “2001: A Space Odyssey” to survive when he ejected from the space pod into the airlock without a space helmet and repressurised the airlock within 30 seconds.

      Your tissues (skin, heart, other internal organs) would expand because of the boiling fluids. However, they would not “explode” as depicted in some science fiction movies, such as “Total Recall.”

      You would face extreme changes in temperature: sunlight – 120 degrees Celsius;shade – minus 100 degrees Celsius.

      You would be exposed to various types of radiation (cosmic rays) or charged particles emitted from the sun (solar wind).

      You could be hit by small particles of dust or rock that move at high speeds (micrometeoroids) or orbiting debris from satellites or spacecraft.

      You would die quickly because of the first three things listed, probably in less than one minute. So it’s not good at all to get lost in space(:

    • Photo: Chloe Huseyin

      Chloe Huseyin answered on 19 Nov 2015:


      Well hopefully that wouldn’t happen! Space agencies like NASA require spacewalking astronauts to use tethers (and sometimes additional anchors) so as not to lose any astronauts. But should those fail, you’d float off according to whatever forces were acting on you when you broke loose. You’d definitely be weightless. You’d possibly be spinning. In space, no kicking and flailing can change your fate.

      At the right angle and velocity, you might fall back into Earth’s atmosphere and burn up 🙁 That’s why there are protocols for astronauts for such situations. They are trained to use their emergency jetpack which can automatically counteract any tumbling before trying to fly back to safety.

      However, if the fuel ran out or you missed trying to catch onto your spacecraft or if the air lock is badly damaged then that wouldn’t be good and eventually the spacesuits oxygen would run out.

      Does that answer your question?

    • Photo: Uday Bangavadi

      Uday Bangavadi answered on 19 Nov 2015:


      So far now, no one has even come close to floating away into space. If you somehow let go of the Shuttle and also managed to un-tether yourself. you would just float right there where you had been. Unless you can somehow give yourself additional energy, you’ll never move to a higher orbit and float away into space. In fact, even changing orbits to move “forward and back” is complicated for something as intelligent and complex as the Shuttle. You wouldn’t float away.

      If you float away into outer space with no spacesuit, you will die very quickly. But if you were so exposed for some reason, it would be incredibly cold. Sunburn, and the space-version of “the bends” would soon set in. At some point you lose consciousness from lack of oxygen. Injuries accumulate. After perhaps one or two minutes, you’re dying and dead.

      The exact injuries and limits of death aren’t known because
      (1) it’s never happened
      (2) nobody’s volunteered to be a test death-subject.

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