As of yet, has anything died in space?

I’m just curious on whether anything has been exposed to the “space”, unprotected, and if there is any documentation as to what happened.

I heared about what would happen, in theory, such as the air goes out of your lungs and so on; and I believe that it makes a lot of sense; but has anything been tested yet; with say, an ant or a rat or something?


Disclaimer: This is a pure hypothetical question, I do not plan to expose myself to space. :smiley:


AFAIK nobody as been exposed to ‘outer space’. However, a few instances have occurred to let scientists speculate:

Assuming you end up in space ‘unprotected’ you can expect the following:
[li]If you hold your breath you can expect embolisms. Essentially the air sacs in your lungs popping. This is the same effect scuba divers need to be aware of. High pressure in the lungs vs. low pressure outside. In space the pressure is zero so you’d need to exhale[/li][li]Now that you have no air in your lungs you might expect to pass out in about 15 seconds. [/li][li]Some swelling of skin but nothing so serious you couldn’t recover from.[/li][li]If you are in sunlight in space, unprotected, expect a very bad sunburn.[/li][li]You will start dying in about 1-2 minutes.[/li][/ul]

Basically not much worse than drowning. Assuming you live most of the effects are reversible (if you suffer an embolism effects can vary). You don’t freeze to death because losinig heat via radiation (the only method in space) is pretty slow. Eventually you’ll be a popsicle but long after you’re dead.

I shoud say instances of humans being exposed to vacuum in a vacuum chamber on earth. I wouldn’t be surprised to find a few animals have met their end in a vacuum chamber as well but I don’t know for certain.

Georgi Timofeyevich Dobrovolsky, Viktor Ivanovich Patsayev, and Vladislav Nikolayevich Volkov of the Soyuz 11 mission died when a pressure equalization valve on their capsule was accidentally opened during the jettison of their orbital module and their spacecraft depressurized during re-entry.

On the other hand, see Cecil’s column If you were thrown into the vacuum of space with no space suit, would you explode? It’s a question of asphyxiating if you’re deprived of oxygen for too long, not of “exploding” or anything like that.

I’m interested in how this actually happens.
For the air sacs to burs there would have to be a pressure differential between the blood side and the air side of the air sacs. I assume blood pressure would remain the same for the victim whilst they were still alive. Wouldn’t the air side pressure drop to zero rapidly wether or not they heald their breath?
Please give me more details, I am sure you are right, I just am interested in knowing where my simple discription above goes wrong.

Cheers, Bippy