This first thing that Kills a human in Space?

  • Thread starter Zdenka
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Sorry I can't find any information on this.. Never mind the how, but if one were to suddenly find themselves floating naked in the vacuum of space what would be the thing that will kill them first?

Would it be:
* Plummeting Temperature
* Lack of oxygen
* Pressure (or lack of it)
* Radiation
* Fear

I'm guessing temperature since it's extremely cold in space, but my friend says pressure (wtf?!)
 
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Vanadium 50

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As opposed to the second thing that kills a human in space?
 
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but you can only die once!
 
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You only live twice,
or so it seems,

I think it's pressure...the blood will boil.

Thats probably rubbish.Perhaps an experiment is called for.
 
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Blood would boil? You mean chill, because it's going to be freezing.
 
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But cooling wouldn't be instantaneous and boiling point reduces with pressure.
 
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Lack of oxygen would kill you.
 
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Lack of oxygen would kill you.
But how quickly?I just tried an experiment by taking a really high jump in the garden and i am happy to report that I am alive and kicking and as handsome as ever.
 
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Lack of oxygen would kill you.
A human being can live for 5 minutes without oxygen but at minus 275 degrees Celsius, I think they'd become brittle far sooner than that.
 

russ_watters

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A human being can live for 5 minutes without oxygen but at minus 275 degrees Celsius, I think they'd become brittle far sooner than that.
Without a medium to carry away heat, cooling doesn't happen very fast.
 
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A human being can live for 5 minutes without oxygen but at minus 275 degrees Celsius, I think they'd become brittle far sooner than that.
But there are no air particles to conduct or convect away heat, so the only mechanism of cooling would be via radiation (which is slow). Theres also the possibility of adiabatic cooling due to the expansion of your body's volume, but I don't think that would be significant.
 
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<< post edited slightly by berkeman >>
Zdenka have you tried approaching NASA?
 
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HallsofIvy

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It depends on how fast you establish "vacuum". If it were instantaneous, you would definitely expand, tearing tissues apart. Have you never felt pressure change in your ears ?

edit
The article indeed says that you would not "burst apart". Interesting...
 

Astronuc

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After googling on "NASA" "survival in space" I got this from our own dear Scientific American:
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=survival-in-space-unprotected-possible
Warning: there are descripitions of rather distressing experiments on animals.

They seem to think that internal rupturing from loss of pressure would kill you first.
Safe to say the cerebral edema (not to mention the complete loss of all organ function) and loss of oxygen would result in rapid death. Unconsciouness would precede death.
 
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My money is on getting ran over by a satellite.
 

mheslep

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The article references this scholarly article on the medical effects of explosive decompression.

http://www.geoffreylandis.com/ebullism.html
Clarke got it about right in 2001. You would survive about a ninety seconds, you wouldn't explode, you would remain conscious for about ten seconds.
I have always wondered about Bowman's explosive decompression stunt. I don't expect Myth Busters will be attempting to verify this one with a human show host.
 
Starvation? I don't think there's any food out there. And even if there is, there's no wine to go with it.
 
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Your eyes would dry up a little quickly!
 
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Wow you guys missed the most obvious one, everyone knows it will be aliens, I'm betting on Klingons or Kzinti.
 

Astronuc

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One forgot 'boredom' on the list in the OP. There's almost nothing in space, and interesting places are rather far away.

Is one planning a trip soon?
 

turbo

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One forgot 'boredom' on the list in the OP. There's almost nothing in space, and interesting places are rather far away.

Is one planning a trip soon?
Out in hard vacuum with no space-suit? I doubt that boredom would be much of a problem.
 

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