I’m writing a novel, and I have a scene in mind where two of the main characters are ejected into the upper atmosphere with minimal survival equipment. I’ve tried researching the effects of upper-atmospheric exposure on human bodies, but most sources say that you need a pressure suit or else you’ll die. I know you won’t explode, but you might get the bends. You won’t freeze immediately, but you may suffer frostbite from falling through the upper atmosphere. This is science fiction, but I like to maintain a degree of verisimilitude in my writing. I’d like to have this scene seem real. Even if sci-fi tech is needed to make it work, I want it to be a sci-fi solution to a real problem, not a magic “they survive” device.
Does anyone here have any information on how a pair of people essentially parachuting from the stratosphere would fair? What equipment would they need to survive, but be seriously jacked up upon landing? How could one character fair better (primarily remaining conscious instead of passing out) than another, and what sort of damage would they suffer? How could they quickly recuperate?
They get rescued by a friendly vehicle, which dives to match their speed and pulls out with bone-crushing force, but just fast enough to prevent the heroes from splattering on the ground, so no worries about parachutes.