Vacuum of Space

This week I enjoyed rereading STRAIGHT DOPE CLASSIC #3 — 03/22/1991.
If you were thrown into the vacuum of space with no space suit, would you explode?
And the answer is in brief, “no.” Still one can’t resist conjuring the image of someone exploding in space. It is probably one of the few great scientific incorrect scenes from the 1981 movie, “Outland.” Yes, I know the explosion occurs within the spacesuit. You can see this moment at youtube in the 7th minute of the clip:

Link to column: If you were thrown into the vacuum of space with no space suit, would you explode? - The Straight Dope

People explode on Mars’s surface - in very little atmosphere, but not no atmosphere - in Total Recall, as well.

BTW, “eardrums” is misspelled in the article’s third paragraph.

In Farscape, to its credit, John Crichton jumped without a suit between two ships, spending about a minute in vacuum-he survived, tho just barely.

On the other hand, Tim Robbins’s character died unrealistically quickly when exposed to vacuum in Mission to Mars.

This was the basis of a Robert Heinlein short story, if I recall correctly.

I don’t recall any Heinlein story to that effect. Any other details?

There is something like that in Arthur C. Clarke’s novel “Earthlight”. A bunch of people rescued from a ship by transferring through vacuum to another. Only one death (panic kills) IIRC.

And of course Clarke reused the concept in* 2001*.

As I posted last year in my thread about meeting Keir Dullea, star of 2001: A Space Odyssey:

The most difficult shot of Dullea’s was Bowman being blown out of the back of the pod into the airlock, simulating explosive decompression. He had to do the shot himself, since his character didn’t have his helmet. The camera was actually at the bottom of the vertically-oriented airlock set, and he was on a piano wire attached to a harness. A huge, very strong stuntman had measured the exact length of the wire so that Dullea would reach the bottom of the set but not hit the camera. Dullea jumped down towards the camera as the stuntman, on belay with the other end of the wire, an instant later jumped (off camera) from the same platform. The wire was tied to a heavy rope knotted in several places. As the stuntman fell he let the rope slip through his hands and caught it and then released it again at each knot, so that Bowman appeared to be shot into the airlock, then sail away, then shoot back towards the camera, and then away again. A low-tech but clever solution to a tricky sfx shot.

Way cool (and very interesting) information! Thanks for sharing that experience with us, Elendil’s Heir. :slight_smile:

My pleasure. Here’s the thread, if you want to read more: I met Keir Dullea tonight! - Cafe Society - Straight Dope Message Board

Whoops - not a Heinlein, but yet another Clarke bit, this time a short story: Take a Deep Breath, published in 1957, in between Earthlight (1955) and 2001 (1968). he appears to have liked the theme.