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Mr Q
2014-May-09, 06:19 PM
Does anyone know of a scientific explanation of what would happen to a human in a space suit, in space, that experiences a massive suit pressure loss? Obviously death results but what is the sequence of events (to the body) until the suit's insides reach the vacuum of space?

I have heard a few different versions and they seem to be just theories. Has an animal/human body been tested for this inevitable occurrence?

SkepticJ
2014-May-09, 09:50 PM
Panic, asphyxiation, death, body slowly cools off by radiation until it reaches the ambient temperature of local space.

cjameshuff
2014-May-09, 10:08 PM
Haven't we already done this? (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php?150773-Sudden-Decompression-Of-A-Space-Suit)

Mr Q
2014-May-10, 05:22 AM
Yea, I did look on this forum and thought I asked the question on another site but ended up on another forum. Old age is taking its toll.

ravens_cry
2014-May-10, 03:20 PM
Would wrapping the holed area in duct tape be enough for at least a temporary fix?

cjameshuff
2014-May-10, 04:02 PM
It's too dependent on situation and suit design. You'd need a small hole in a reasonably flat area where the duct tape can make a good seal on a suit where there aren't other air pathways through the outer layers. You also need to know where the leak is.

Noclevername
2014-May-10, 04:06 PM
Would wrapping the holed area in duct tape be enough for at least a temporary fix?

The OP specified "massive pressure loss", and that would result in about 9 seconds of consciousness of which about half would likely consist of inhibited movement, so I'd go with probably not.

ravens_cry
2014-May-10, 04:45 PM
Here's hoping mechanical counter-pressure designs get perfected by the time we start doing industrial work in outer space. Holing them isn't nearly as bad for your continued health, and you could wear protective clothing over top of them to stop even that.

SkepticJ
2014-May-10, 09:17 PM
Here's hoping mechanical counter-pressure designs get perfected by the time we start doing industrial work in outer space. Holing them isn't nearly as bad for your continued health, and you could wear protective clothing over top of them to stop even that.

Robotic surrogates would be better, like NASA's Robonaut.

ravens_cry
2014-May-11, 12:14 AM
Robotic surrogates would be better, like NASA's Robonaut.
Perhaps, but Speed of Light delays make that increasingly difficult, especially for precision work. Also, mechanical counter pressure suits are mechanically simpler than standard EVA suits and telerobots, and less likely to break down.

SkepticJ
2014-May-11, 08:19 PM
Perhaps, but Speed of Light delays make that increasingly difficult, especially for precision work. Also, mechanical counter pressure suits are mechanically simpler than standard EVA suits and telerobots, and less likely to break down.

I was presuming that the human puppeteers would be nearby, light-speed delay-wise.

That's potentially true, but I was thinking of safety. If a robot "dies" no one really cares too much, just make a new one.

ravens_cry
2014-May-12, 04:13 AM
Depending on the capabilities of the construction crew , that might mean a separate launch and however many millions that will cost, and certainly take time, so something more all around reliable may be better.

danscope
2014-May-12, 04:23 AM
The point is it is so difficult to manuver in a space suit, never mind find the end of a roll of duckt tape and then "try" to find the hole. Now can you imaging that someone hurls a AA battery at you at 30,000 miles per hour. Now that's a hole.
Who ya gonna call? Ghost busters? Clearly, the robot is better "suited" for work in space.

ravens_cry
2014-May-12, 04:54 AM
Mechanical counter pressure suits could mean that would be a thing of the past, being much less exhausting to work in and less dangerous if holed. That's why I mentioned them specifically.

Mr Q
2014-May-12, 05:32 AM
The OP specified "massive pressure loss", and that would result in about 9 seconds of consciousness of which about half would likely consist of inhibited movement, so I'd go with probably not.

I heard recently that the body would possibly do one of several things, including rapid "boiling", as when a bottle of soda is opened and the dissolved gas instantly recombines and is released as a gas. Similar to the "bends", but almost instantly, the body would "boil" and explode from the gases in the body rapidly boiling and the resultant release of pressure escaping into space through the opening in the suit. In this scenario, the body (most of it) would instantly turn into a liquid and escape into space. There were other opinions on what would happen to the body in this massive loss of pressure but I was wondering if any such tests were ever done to see what would actually happen, though any attempt in saving the person would be futile.

ravens_cry
2014-May-12, 06:48 AM
That wouldn't happen. There was actually a case where a human was exposed, briefly, to a hard vacuum when there was a suit accident during testing and that most assuredly did not happen. They even survived. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KO8L9tKR4CY)

Mr Q
2014-May-12, 03:06 PM
Thanks for the link. Since they didn't mention how large the leak was after the hose disconnected, I'm thinking that if the pressure leak was gradual enough, the human might survive until aided by other crew members. But my OP question concerns a massive leak such as an instant large tear in the suit that would bring the human's body to a space vacuum in a second or two. Or as in the case of a craft loosing pressure to a vacuum in a couple of seconds.

My guess is the body would explode within a second as fluids rapidly boil with the near instant change from normal pressure to space vacuum. Though the test in the link is more likely to happen than a massive, instant loss of pressure, though interesting to watch (know), it still does not answer my OP question concerning complete, instant massive loss of pressure that would bring the human from normal pressure to space vacuum in a second or two.

ravens_cry
2014-May-12, 05:10 PM
No, that won't happen. Your guess is simply wrong. The Soyuz 11 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soyuz_11) cosmonauts were exposed to hard vacuum when their capsule vented before re-entry, and while they were dead, they didn't explode (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdhwbvKMe3I). Explosive decompression refers to the speed of the decompression, not its results in humans. Even though that was slower than 'instant', if the body should explode, there should still be visible traumatic damage in those cases.

Mr Q
2014-May-13, 04:50 AM
Yea, that's what I was thinking (explosive body) but the source (AM radio science program) of the other possible outcomes mentioned in my posts seemed to vary quite a bit. I guess the guest on the show didn't do his homework as well as myself not remembering the Soviet accident. Thanks for the links.

ravens_cry
2014-May-13, 07:01 AM
Glad to help. :)