Many of us have fantasized about traveling to space. Maybe you’ve fantasized about going to the International Space Station or perhaps discovering other planets. However, space travel presents a variety of difficulties and hostile settings, making it essential to mimic the conditions on Earth that have supported the evolution and flourishing of life.
Spacesuits give astronauts the oxygen, water, pressure, and physical protection they need to survive while they spend brief periods of time outside their spacecraft. But what would happen if there were no such cutting-edge suits?
Some science fiction films and television programs, such as “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “The Expanse,” have shown humans enduring and surviving brief exposures to space without a spacesuit, while others have shown a variety of gruesome demises.
How long, though, could a human survive in the harsh vacuum of space here in the actual world? The quick response is: not very long.
According to Stefaan de Mey, a senior strategy officer of the European Space Agency (ESA) in charge of coordinating the strategy area for human and robotic exploration, “you will lose consciousness in a matter of 10 to 15 seconds due to a lack of oxygen.”
Although it may seem like only a brief moment, you wouldn’t want to hold your breath before being propelled into space. The oxygen that keeps us alive would become a severe issue in the gloomy vacuum of space.
“The oxygen starts expanding and rupturing your lungs, tearing them apart — and that would cause boiling and bubbling of your blood, which will immediately cause embolism and have a fatal impact on your body,” de Mey explained.
When the water pressure drops as they rise from the depths, divers are in a similar danger. You’d want to get as much air out of your lungs as you can before going into space unprotected. Other dangerous problems are also brought on by the total lack of pressure, however they manifest more gradually.
Saliva and tears, among other bodily fluids, would start to boil. A human body would similarly grow, but the skin would be elastic enough to withstand the change in pressure, according to de Mey, who also said that horrifying movie depictions of individuals exploding are untrue.
In the best-case scenario, you would have a little window of time before the oxygen in your bloodstream depleted and you fainted. Unless you were saved and returned to the security of the pressurized, oxygen-rich environment of a spacecraft and revived, brain death would occur within minutes as a result of your inability to change your awful predicament.
Spacesuits protect astronauts from other risks and harm in addition to delivering necessary oxygen and pressurization.
De Mey noted that there were radiation, micrometeoroid, and temperature issues. Therefore, spacesuits are created to offer physical protection to humans in space.
In low Earth orbit (LEO), an astronaut would face extremely cold temperatures, ranging from minus 240 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 150 to 120 degrees Celsius), whether they were in direct sunlight or shelter from the sun. Due to the difficulty of conducting body heat away in a vacuum, these conditions would either result in burns or freezing, though not immediately in the latter scenario.
Radiation protection is another feature of spacesuits. Radiation shielding against some types of radiation exists in LEO. Long-term or continuous exposure to the electromagnetic radiation from the sun would result in radiation sickness and an elevated risk of cancer, among other health problems. The skin would also be burned by UV light. Many of these problems would be made worse by the additional tragedy of an astronaut being exposed to solar flare particles while they were in space.
The threat of micrometeoroids and space debris is also present. These pose a threat to satellites, spacecraft, and astronauts engaged in extravehicular activities (EVAs), often known as spacewalks, as they move at a speed of a few or tens of kilometers per second. Spacesuits are made with multiple layers to help protect astronauts from any potential micrometeoroids or space debris whizzing around in orbit, even though it is highly unlikely to affect an unprotected astronaut’s chances of survival given the astronomically small chances of being hit during a brief period in space.
Without an EVA suit, being in space becomes extremely dangerous very, very soon. Even if they were to live, they would want to have very little oxygen in their lungs and return to the safety of a pressurized spacecraft as soon as possible, or they would want to be rescued and given CPR within minutes.
Originally posted on Space.com.