exposure to outer space

Let’s say you’re hypothetically an astronaut orbiting the earth and leave the orbiting vehicle for an EVA spacewalk. During the spacewalk your glove flies off and your hand is exposed to outer space for a 60 second period. Let’s say this happens on the sunny side of the orbit and the suit automatically seals at the cuff so the rest of the suit retains its oxygen and the exposure is limited exclusively to the hand.

What injuries or tissue damages could result to one’s hand during that 60 seconds?

Regardless of the temperature, I think your hand would probably get freeze dried just due to the lack of pressure. Once this happens it may be hard to keep the seal closed around a freeze dried hand, unless the suit actively cuts it off.

60 seconds? A full hand hickey. No consequences from temperature, sunny side or shade.

What happens to the unprotected human body in space?

Most of the article deals with total exposure, but you can extrapolate.

If you’re ever ejected into space, your instinct will tell you to hold your breath to conserve oxygen. DON’T. The air in your lungs will expand and rupture them, killing you. Breathe OUT to equalize the pressure.

What Happens When I Put My Arm In A Vacuum Chamber? Will It Explode?

For those who want the gory details, NASA’s animal study on the effects of vacuum (warning, pdf)

Also google Jim LeBlanc

Arthur C. Clarke examined this in some detail quite a while back. He had people going into vacuum in a number of his stories (The Other Side of the Sky, Earthlight) even before they did the movie 2001, and for 2001 he created a detailed response, should people ask about the survivability of being blown into space without your helmet. I think it’s reproduced in his collection The View from Serendip.

I believe the short story name is “Take A Deep Breath”. The narrator gets a bad sunburn but survives transfer from one spaceship to another without a suit.