Frozen Space

Okay, so things in space freeze to near absolute 0. I was wondering, does that mean that I could theoretically go into space, freeze myself, and then in a million years be warmed up by super smart scientists?

Sort of like cryogenics, only without the damage to the body because you freeze quicker and much colder (as I understand it, the current methods of cryogenics destroy tissue).

I don’t think space freezing is that fast, because the only way to lose heat is through radiation. I imagine the lack of oxygen and pressure would do all sorts of lovely permanent damage to your body first.

Cryogenics destroys tissue because water inside the cells expand when they freeze, rupturing the cells. You can’t solve that by freezing yourself faster or colder. Besides, as Achernar said, it won’t be faster - the fastest method is to put your body in contact with something cold (say, liquid nitrogen) and cool by conduction.

Also, you can reproduce the 3K temperature of outer space (or even colder) in a laboratory. It’d be cheaper than going to space.

So in order for cyrogenics to work, the water has to be drained out of the body. I suppose their is other damage to the body from the cyrogenic process.

Well, my shot at living to see the far, far, future has now officially been shot…

Draining the water from your body would cause far more cellular damage than merely freezing it.

Maybe you should start working on a time machine instead.

If I were to freeze myself cryogenically, I’d first infuse my system with some kind of bio-antifreeze, like certain arctic or antarctic marine species.

BTW, how do sperm and ova resist cellular damage when cryogenically frozen?

Really? Does Clarence Birdseye know this??

A time machine! That’s it! I’ll ask BZ000 for help on this!


To be frozen in outer space, you would need to be unprotected in the vast emptiness, a situation that would leave you with boiling blood due to the change in pressure. The super smart doctors would find that upon your theoretical ‘dethawing’ you would have an instantaneous moment of screaming before you then exploded. (Go for the time machine idea…):slight_smile:

Okay, so your blood boils-because of no pressure, right? Well how could you freeze then? I’m a little confused…
So would you be warm on the inside and frozen on the outside?

I’m not exactly an expert on the matter, but in Chemistry last year my professor talked about the complexities involved in the process. I know that it is true that when exposed to outer space, objects freeze. However, it is also just as logical (and apparently true) that blood would boil due to the lack of pressure. I’m not entirely sure of the end result that the two have on each other…

NASA knows all.

The boiling point of a liquid is determined by both pressure and temperature. A glass of water chilled to near freezing will still boil if you put it in a vacuum.

The vacuum of space is neither cold nor hot. You freeze because gradually all your body heat trickles away as infrared radiation and there’s no other heat source to replace it. You’re already dead from lack of oxygen, so your body’s normal heat-generating chemical processes have stopped. And there’s no dense cloud of air molecules bumping into you keeping you at room temperature. Heat is constantly draining away by radiation and with nothing to replace it you keep getting colder and colder.

Of course, that’s only if your body is far away from the sun or in a shadow. If you’re exposed to direct sunlight you will quickly get very hot indeed. Now there’s lots of radiation coming in and no way for your body to get rid of it except to reradiate it. Kind of like pouring boiling soup into a thermos bottle.

Indeed, NASA should be expected to know much more than others regarding the matter, but I would be hard pressed to admit that they know everything. (With all respect, because I know the phrase was used solely for emphasis, and probably not truthfully) I’m skeptical about the tests talked about on that link, though. In my mind, outer space cannot be completely simulated by using a vacuum on earth. The effects can be realistically duplicated to a certain point, but I’m hesitant to think that there aren’t other factors that exist solely in outer space.

PS- After more web browsing, I came across this link, which acts as if it is related to NASA as well…creating contradictory NASA explanations if it is truly linked to NASA.

Not to start a link war, but NASA knows nothing?
I guess there is only one way to find out…any volunteers?

Of course, if one is posting links, why not cite the Master.

There have, in fact, been people exposed to total vacume in space: the unfortunate crew of Soyuz 11, when the capin pressure-equalization valve accidentally opened while still in orbit. They neither froze nor exploded, although they were quite dead by the time the ship landed on autopilot.

I’m not saying one is right or one is wrong. I’m not saying that NASA doesn’t know much about space. I’m just wondering which of these is true.

Try reading Wait it Out an interesting little short story by Larry Niven. I think it’s in his Tales of Known Space book. It posits a similar situation to the OP.

From what I’ve read in the links above, the situation in the story wouldn’t happen, but it does make a nice read.