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Human in deep space in spacesuit, do they need a heater?

  1. Dec 19, 2009 #1
    Say I have a space suit that is heated only by the heat generated by my body and I am located in deep space where the only heat is from the microwave background. If I kept putting more and more of the best insulation around me will I stay warm? Is there a theoretical limit to how much I can minimize my energy loss?

    Thanks for any help!
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 19, 2009 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Unless you are naked in space, keeping warm isn't the problem, keeping cool is. If I did the math right, blackbody radiation of a 1 square meter object with good emissivity at body temp is about 480w. Including condensing the water we breathe, the human body needs to dissipate about 140w when doing light work (astronaut work is not that light). Throw on a pressure suit and it becomes tough to remove that heat. Thus, spacesuits aren't typically equipped with heat, they are just cooled.
  4. Dec 20, 2009 #3

    Andy Resnick

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    Space suit design is quite complex. They used to be made by Hamilton-Sundstrand, but then NASA re-bid the contract; a 'small' compnay was awarded the contract:


    I'm not sure if Hamilton-Sundstrand got it back.

    http://www.astronautix.com/craftfam/spasuits.htm [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  5. Dec 20, 2009 #4

    D H

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    Nope. Hamilton got to play a bit part as a small Oceaneering subcontractor in exchange for dropping their protest.
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