Difference between revisions of "Out the airlock"

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There are so many I-heards about this one that it fascinated me, to try to figure it out.
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There are so many I-heards about this one that it fascinated me, to try to figure it out.  
  
Since very few astronauts have died at all, and fewer in actual space, and it's not something you can test very easily or without making a lot of people very unhappy, so you're going on secondary information from things like decompression chambers, and logic.
 
  
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I take the angle of "what would be the right thing to do in the situation", so maybe I consider this less morbid than others.  YMMV, just saying.
  
And we need to not just state conclusions, we need to back it up with physics, and we need to compare and argue different causes, to support the comparisons well enough to be presumable to anyone else. As you do, pretenting to be even vaguely scientific.
 
  
  
Do you boil? Do you freeze? Do you explode? Do you asphyxiate?
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Since very few astronauts have died at all, and fewer in actual space, and it's not something we have a lot of information on. And obviously it's not something you can test very easily or without making a lot of people ''very'' unhappy, so you're going on secondary information from things like decompression chambers, and logic.
  
And for each, does it happen fast enough that another won't be relevant much earlier?
 
  
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And we need to not just state conclusions, we need to back it up with physics, and we need to compare and argue different causes, to support the comparisons well enough to be presumable to anyone else. As you do, pretenting to be even vaguely scientific.
  
  
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Do you boil? Do you freeze? Do you explode? Do you asphyxiate?
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And for each, does it happen fast enough that another won't be relevant much earlier?
  
'''Oxygen'''
 
  
You doen't pass out until you run out of oxygen (or faints preventatively, which should not apply here).
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===Oxygen===
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You won't pass out until you run out of oxygen (or faints preventatively, which is a mechanism that should not apply here).
  
 
You would have easily a dozen seconds worth of oxygen in your bloodstream. And maybe a little more in your lungs - with footnotes.  
 
You would have easily a dozen seconds worth of oxygen in your bloodstream. And maybe a little more in your lungs - with footnotes.  
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===Nitrogen===
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'''Nitrogen'''
 
  
 
Going to lower pressure with significant nitrogen in your blood makes that bubble up, causing [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decompression_sickness decompression sickness], well studied because of divers. Because space suits have lower pressure, astronauts preparing for EVAs in them will prepare by lowering their blood nitrogen as much as possible (exercise and breathing pure oxygen), and doing this properly takes about two hours.  
 
Going to lower pressure with significant nitrogen in your blood makes that bubble up, causing [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decompression_sickness decompression sickness], well studied because of divers. Because space suits have lower pressure, astronauts preparing for EVAs in them will prepare by lowering their blood nitrogen as much as possible (exercise and breathing pure oxygen), and doing this properly takes about two hours.  
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===Gases and ebullism===
'''Gases and ebullism'''
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Our biology is used to living in 1 atmosphere of pressure.
 
Our biology is used to living in 1 atmosphere of pressure.
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Ebullism specifically in your bloodstream is a much larger issue, for a good part because a large enough pocket of gas means pumping mechanisms fails to work, though apparently just pressure difference won't do that quickly enough to be the first thing that gives out{{verify}}.
 
Ebullism specifically in your bloodstream is a much larger issue, for a good part because a large enough pocket of gas means pumping mechanisms fails to work, though apparently just pressure difference won't do that quickly enough to be the first thing that gives out{{verify}}.
  
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'''Bloodflow'''
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===Bloodflow===
 
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At the same time, swelling can reduce bloodflow in arteries enough to slow delivery of the oxygen you still have.  
 
At the same time, swelling can reduce bloodflow in arteries enough to slow delivery of the oxygen you still have.  
  
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'''Skin'''
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===Skin===
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Skin itself protects a lot of the rest of you, in a lot of ways, and in this case by being thick and spreading pressure.
  
Skin itself protects a lot of the rest of you, in a lot of ways, and in this case in part just by being thick and spreading pressure.
 
  
 
Skin itself won't like being in zero pressure.  
 
Skin itself won't like being in zero pressure.  
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Evaporation of water from your skin goes moderately quickly,
 
Evaporation of water from your skin goes moderately quickly,
 
and since skin is porous, of other things near the surface as well.
 
and since skin is porous, of other things near the surface as well.
  
Your skin will dry out, and you will generally dehydrate more quickly than in many other contexts.  
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Your skin will dry out, and you will dehydrate more quickly than in many other contexts.  
  
 
The swelling means extra pressure, but not enough for explosion or rapture, that's just a dramatic effect for the movies.
 
The swelling means extra pressure, but not enough for explosion or rapture, that's just a dramatic effect for the movies.
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===Freezing===
'''Freezing'''
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Humans care about their core temperature being in a very narrow range, so they care when rate of heat loss is higher than the rate the body can generate heat.
 
Humans care about their core temperature being in a very narrow range, so they care when rate of heat loss is higher than the rate the body can generate heat.
 
{{comment|(similarly, not overheating means we need to be able to lose the heat we generate)}}
 
{{comment|(similarly, not overheating means we need to be able to lose the heat we generate)}}
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'''Immediate damage'''
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===Immediate damage===
 
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So, our Earth atmosphere is pretty good at keeping out some nasty stuff.
 
So, our Earth atmosphere is pretty good at keeping out some nasty stuff.
  
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'''What kills you'''
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===So what's the verdict?===
  
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Many of the above would ''eventually'' kill via some implication or other.
 
Many of the above would ''eventually'' kill via some implication or other.
  
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If you lose consciousness, nothing much matters except there being a bunch of people working to grab you within a minute or two, stick you in air.  If they need to start your heart it will be an even tighter timescale because it will probably involve things like airlock repressurization. (A suit would pressurize a little faster, but is work to get into)
 
If you lose consciousness, nothing much matters except there being a bunch of people working to grab you within a minute or two, stick you in air.  If they need to start your heart it will be an even tighter timescale because it will probably involve things like airlock repressurization. (A suit would pressurize a little faster, but is work to get into)
  
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===What happens on the longer term?===
'''What happens if you die, on the longer term?'''
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Constantly leaking heat makes you freeze,  
 
Constantly leaking heat makes you freeze,  

Revision as of 23:26, 2 June 2021

This article/section is a stub — probably a pile of half-sorted notes, is not well-checked so may have incorrect bits. (Feel free to ignore, fix, or tell me)

Oxygen

Nitrogen

Gases and ebullism

Bloodflow

Skin

Freezing

Immediate damage

So what's the verdict?

What happens on the longer term?