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Air leak on a Star Trek-style shuttle - what happens?

  1. Jul 5, 2016 #1
    Hi. I'm writing a space opera with your typical Star Trek-style shuttle. In the story, the ship is hit and begins leaking air. I want to knock out the characters (e.g., due to reduced oxygen before they can be rescued) without permanently injuring them due to loss of pressure or other effects caused by the leak. The Wikipedia page on cabin pressure was over my head.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 6, 2016 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    You should review ST episodes (is this OS, TNG or what?) involving characters in situations where the air is running out.
    Generally an ST shuttle is protected by a force field and air is produced either from store or by replicators. The shuttle will need to be without power or emergency generators and crew incapacitated in another way. But still ... it may be that enough air could escape before the emergency systems seal the breach to make the crew pass out. You want to look up the effects of oxygen deprivation in general rather than cabin pressure stuff.
  4. Jul 6, 2016 #3
    And you might get them out of Simon's predicament by having an alien space craft pick them up. Chose Romulan, Klingon, or "other".
  5. Jul 6, 2016 #4


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    From what little I've read it appears that once oxygen starvation has reached the point to induce unconsciousness, permanent brain damage has likely already occurred.
  6. Jul 7, 2016 #5
    ST shuttles have a built in easy way to knock em all out shake the ship they don't have seat belts they would be like eggs in a shoe box being shaken. big enough turbulence they all die just enough to get head trauma should be possible.
  7. Jul 8, 2016 #6
    How fast does it have to be? Apollo 13's crew was nearly killed by their CO2 filters not working. It would take a decent amount of time for the gas to build up, but if a system was malfunctioning, they might not even be aware of it.

    I know in Star Trek the ship is help together by force fields and they can replicate air pretty easily.
  8. Jul 8, 2016 #7
    The system wasn't malfunctioning, the filters were exhausted. They could only absorb so much CO2.
  9. Jul 8, 2016 #8

    Vanadium 50

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    Even 20th century commercial airplanes had oxygen masks that dropped down if needed. You would think some similar backup would be in place in a more advanced craft in a riskier environment.
  10. Jul 8, 2016 #9
    That's always my favorite grumble. "The ship was sinking rapidly." Okay, so if this is the 24th Century*, why don't they have things to stop ships from sinking?

    *25th and half Century for you Duck Dodgers fans.
  11. Jul 8, 2016 #10


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    Maybe for the same reason that the moment you turn the power off, the orbit starts to decay. :woot:
  12. Jul 8, 2016 #11
    you mean plot advancement?
  13. Jul 9, 2016 #12
    I like plots that are advanced through thoughtful writing.

    And I know those are few and far between.
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