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Space exposure was when a human body (Or other creature) was exposed to the vacuum and extreme environment of outer space without suitable protection such as a spacesuit.

Effects of Space Exposure to a human[]

If a human was exposed to space without protection, the conditions of the vacuum environment in space would make it impossible for a human to receive oxygen. As a result, hypoxia and eventual anoxia would occur. Within 9-13 seconds, the deoxygenated blood would reach the brain, resulting in loss of consciousness.

Meanwhile, the airlessness of space would cause the pressure on the body to drop to zero, causing bubbles to form in blood and other bodily liquids, and causing exposed moisture to evaporat. The bubbles in the blood and the other liquids would cause the body to bloat to twice it's size. If a human took a breath before being exposed, the bloating of the body would cause the lungs to explode from uncontrolled decompression. In addition, the sudden loss of pressure would cause a human to urinate and defecate uncontrollably.

Another danger would be the exposure to sunlight and cosmic radiation. Without a suit or even an atmosphere to protect them, any exposed skin on the unfortunate human would be burned horribly and the constant waves of radiation would eventually cause cellular mutation.

After about a minute, the body would suffer from the extreme cold in space and would start to rapidly cool, causing ice to form in the respiratory tract. The bubbles in the blood could lead to a stroke or heart attack.

A human could only survive in this condition for about 90 seconds. If the exposed person was not recompressed after that time, death may be inevitable. After some hours, the remaining fluid in the body would debloat and freeze solid.

Victims in Gravity[]

Trivia[]

  • Soviet cosmonauts Georgi Dobrovolski, Vladislav Volkov, and Viktor Patsayev of the mission Soyuz 11 are the only humans who have died from space exposure. They were killed when a valve on their Soyuz spacecraft was jolted open, depressurizing the capsule and suffocating the crew. The rapid decompression killed them in just over a minute.
  • The bodies of Evans and Thomas were shown frozen in the wreck of the Explorer, even though this would have taken hours to happen.
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