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A recent pub discussion amongst learned friends asked that time-old question...

...what happens when an astronaut's suit gets a hole in it?

If the movies are to be believed the poor space-man explodes in a ball of blood!
My understanding is that the boiling point of a liquid lowers as the pressure reduces. Therefore in the vacuum of space your blood would boil. But does this still hold for a body, with skin? Would the low, low temperature mean you would freeze first? Would you suffocate first?

My guess is you would end up with a frozen, bubbly inside.
Any Mtb-riding NASA types out there who can answer this dreadfully important question?:rolleyes:
 

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I'd say all the oxygen would rush out of a the pressurized suit causing a loss in pressure, loss of oxygen and the person would die of suffication first then freeze and I'm assuming the pressure loss would be bad too?
 

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pronounced may-duh
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It's not just a loss of pressure it's a void of pressure. Such a quick change could make you body explode just like in the movies. If you catch a fish that is deep down on the ocean floor and pull it up real fast the loss in pressure if quick enough to cause the fish to explode. The effect in space would be similar but quicker and more extreme.
 

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Maida7 said:
It's not just a loss of pressure it's a void of pressure. Such a quick change could make you body explode just like in the movies. If you catch a fish that is deep down on the ocean floor and pull it up real fast the loss in pressure if quick enough to cause the fish to explode. The effect in space would be similar but quicker and more extreme.
But has anyone ever caught a fish from really deep ocean like a mile or more and brought it up really fast? That seems almost impossible to have a fishing rig capable of doing that, I don't doubt the logic though, something like the opposite of the bends.
 

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Yes I have heard stories (on discovery chanel) of fish being brough up fast and exploding on the way up. But were talking about super deep fish. Those freaky looking ones that make thier own light.
 

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Boiling and exploding are really the same thing, just a matter of degree. It's the bodies gasses coming out of solution. If the pressure is dropped slowly and the gasses slowly came out of solution it would be like boiling. If the pressure is dropped fast enough all the gasses would come out of solution like an explosion. Hard to say what would happen in space because it would depend on how fast the pressure dropped. A pinhole leak would not likely result in a fast pressure loss and if the astronaut could get back to the ship fast enough he might survive. If it was a tear, goodbye and good luck.
 

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No, no.

The astronaut gets sucked out into space through the hole, then suffocates, then with the boiling and the exploding.

That's a fact. Look it up.
 

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You wouldn't explode like a deep sea fish. The pressure difference between a mile deep in the ocean and the surface is almost 2300 psi. The difference in pressure between standidng at sea level and space is roughly 14.7 psi, though I think NASA space suits simulate something like 8000 ft of elevation in which case it would be more like 11-12 psi.

The 14.7 psi pressure difference is like catching a a depth of 34 ft, I don't think any fish has ever exploded from that depth.

I'd think that it would take several minutes for a leak to drain the suit of gas, the main problem will be that the gas leak will act like a small thruster and probably spin the astronaut around in the zero-g environment. After that I would assume they'd have to worry about hemorrhaging through the eyes, nose, etc and nitrogen bubbles forming in the blood (the bends).

There's my thoughts, and I swear I have never even seen an episode of Star Trek.
 

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I believe that N2 bubbles the bends are probably all that is going to happen.

The body can contain pressure for example hold your breathe and compress.

This pressure is about 3 feet of H2O or 1.3 psi. (ear drums still intact).

So if space is 0 psi then inside the body could be 1.3 psi.

The boiling point of water is 42 C at this pressure so no boiling.

The N2 bubbles will occur but to a much lesser degree than compared to diving.

Diving to 90 feet the pressure is 38 +14 psia = 52 psia. So we have a ratio of 14/52 or a ratio of 0.26.

In space airliners run 9 psia so say the same down to 1.3 psia we have a ratio of 0.144.

But rember there is a lot less N2 to start with in the blood a 9 psia.

No unless there is signifiacant radiation to heat the dead body above 42 C. You just get cold and vacuum packed.
 

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Ahh, but your forgetting that without an atmosphere (the suit is drained of that) that temperature fluctuations would be on the order of 100°C on the Sunny side and -173°C on the dark side of the astronaut.

Wait, we're being way to analytical about this.

I think you just liquify and your space suit looks like a giant lava lamp.
 

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Back in my days as a fish monger

We'd get sea bass and grouper that had been caught deep and pulled up. The change in pressure wouldn't make them explode but would make their guts expand and bulge out of their mouths.
Dunno if the same would happen to an astronaut. :yikes:
 

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nepbug said:
You wouldn't explode like a deep sea fish. The pressure difference between a mile deep in the ocean and the surface is almost 2300 psi. The difference in pressure between standidng at sea level and space is roughly 14.7 psi, though I think NASA space suits simulate something like 8000 ft of elevation in which case it would be more like 11-12 psi.

The 14.7 psi pressure difference is like catching a a depth of 34 ft, I don't think any fish has ever exploded from that depth.

I'd think that it would take several minutes for a leak to drain the suit of gas, the main problem will be that the gas leak will act like a small thruster and probably spin the astronaut around in the zero-g environment. After that I would assume they'd have to worry about hemorrhaging through the eyes, nose, etc and nitrogen bubbles forming in the blood (the bends).

There's my thoughts, and I swear I have never even seen an episode of Star Trek.
i dunno about new stuff, but i think older nasa suits use a pure o2 atmosphere at 4 psi. the lower pressure allows greater suit flexibility, and i suppose ever more resistance to rapid decompression. also, your sweat must practically boil off your skin, which would be pretty handy as there's no way to itch or wipe it off in those things. :madman:
 

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Hairy man
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Haven't you guys read any comic books

amaurosis fugax said:
A recent pub discussion amongst learned friends asked that time-old question...

...what happens when an astronaut's suit gets a hole in it?
Obviously, exposure to the direct radiation of the sun along with all those other cosmic waves and stuff would give you super powers. But with great power, comes great responsibility...
 
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