Old 03-07-2012, 09:46 PM
Wizard One Wizard One is offline
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Delaware County, PA
Posts: 205
Explosive decompression

The "experts at NASA" would disagree with your experts at NASA assessment, as NASA has two known cases of human exposure to hard vacuum on record, for relatively extended periods (read: minute or so and a third with a palm exposed for many, many minutes during a glove being pierced during an EVA shuttle mission).
As a "textbook" example, I suggest http://www.geoffreylandis.com/ebullism.html
NASA conducted quite exhaustive studies (at least, to the point of exhausting supplies of primates) on explosive decompression.

First, the term: Explosive decompression, what IS it? Simple, rapid pressurization loss in the cabin/chamber/your car suddenly transported into space. As within a minute or so.
True, it's REALLY bad news. But, not necessarily unsurvivable. The current record for TOTAL vacuum exposure, due to a catastrophic failure of a prototype space suit, was about a minute. The supervisor broke the pressure chamber to permit air to leak in as rapidly as possible, which permitted the rescue of the test volunteer. Said volunteer recalled felling the saliva on his tongue boiling and his tears boiling, then lost consciousness.
Now, extend the time to three minutes, good luck, I doubt Doctor House, were he to really exist, could save you. You'd be in V-fib for long enough that you'd be unrecoverable. (Also mentioned in the webpage I offered.)
The jello lungs, boiling blood and other nasties are long after you're quite dead. Indeed, I'd say that at THAT point, one could say, "He/she is not merely dead, he/she's most sincerely dead".
Old 03-07-2012, 11:50 PM
Quartz Quartz is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Home of the haggis
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Link to column.


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