What happens to you in space without a space suit? (NASA)
What happens to you in space without a space suit?
Lexile

Bad things happen, my friends. Lots of bad things.

Our bodies depend on Earth's atmosphere to survive. Not just for oxygen. The atmosphere protects us from ultraviolet radiation. It regulates temperatures. And it wraps us in a cocoon of lovely, lovely air pressure. In the vacuum of outer space, all that protection goes away. The most serious danger is asphyxiation. After about fifteen seconds, your body has used up all the oxygen in your blood, and your brain loses consciousness.

Now, you might be thinking - I can hold my breath for a minute! That might work underwater or under our atmosphere, but in outer space, there's no outside pressure. With no outside pressure air expands and can rupture the tissues in your lungs. Meanwhile, the water in your body turns into vapor beneath your skin, causing the mother of all bloating. Youll swell to about twice your normal size. Your body wont explode like you see in some movies, but you will be in a world of hurt.

After a few minutes, if the lack of oxygen hasn't killed you, the damage from depressurization will.

Outer space has other hazards - freezing temperatures, lethal radiation. But here's the good news you won't live long enough to have to worry about them. Despite all the dangers, if youre rescued within 60 seconds, you'd probably survive. You wouldnt be in good shape, but youd be alive. And you'll have first hand knowledge of why you never go to outer space, without dressing up in a nice looking space suit.

Critical thinking challenge: What does the atmosphere provide, in addition to oxygen, so we can survive?

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COMMENTS (59)
  • MarissaColvin
    5/22/2014 - 08:40 a.m.

    I already know what happens if you go to space with no space suit. But I don't know why people want to risk lives not going up there. I thought that you would blow up or space would mummify you or something....

  • lk30pink
    5/22/2014 - 09:09 a.m.

    I think it is crazy that all that can happen. I thought that the only reason you had to wear a space suit was to provide oxygen. I didnt know space was that dangerous.

  • ZM17Games
    5/22/2014 - 01:00 p.m.

    I think it's interesting that just a suit can let you survive all the harmful things the vacuum of space has to offer. Hearing about all of the things that happen in space when your not wearing a suit is crazy I thought for sure you would just die immediately.

  • DelilahG-3
    5/22/2014 - 09:04 p.m.

    If you go up into space without a space suit then you will die in a matter of minutes. Earth's atmosphere does many things. It protects us from ultraviolet radiation, provides oxygen so we can breath, regulates our body temperatures, and provides air pressure for us, enough for us to breath correctly. In space you have none of those protection given by Earth and if you try to hold your breath for a couple of minutes then it won't work because there is not enough air pressure around you so your lungs will rupture. Also without a space suit, after a couple of seconds your body has used up all the oxygen in your blood and you will lose consciousness and die and if you didn't die from that then you will die from the damage of depressurization. If you are rescued within 1 minute then you can survive but you will be seriously injured. I think that this is a very interesting subject and is also a very scary subject. Someone being blown up to twice their size would scare me to death, just seeing it, and if it happened to me I would last about 5 seconds in outer space and probably no longer.

  • morgank-Koc
    5/22/2014 - 10:05 p.m.

    I always thought you exploded that's cool & weird what space actually does. Bloating to double your size is so weird how does that happen what would you look like?

  • BaileyD-1
    5/23/2014 - 12:31 a.m.

    Bad things happen when we go into space without a spacesuit. The air pressure is to great and there is no protection from dangerous radiation. The vacuum of space has an unregulated temperature and you will loos all the oxygen in your body. This is not cool or fun. Wheat ever you do, do not try this at home.

  • JessieC-2
    5/23/2014 - 01:20 a.m.

    In outer space without a space suit, bad things will happen to you, without a doubt. Our bodies depend on Earth's atmosphere to survive, not just oxygen. Earth's atmosphere protects us from ultraviolet radiation, helps regulate temperature, and wraps us in a nice cocoon of air pressure. In outer space, all that lovely protection goes away, and once your body uses up all the oxygen in your blood, your brain will lose consciousness. Holding your breath for a minute won't work either, considering there's no outside pressure in space. With no outside pressure, air expands and can rupture your tissues and organs. Plus, all the water in your body will turn to vapor, causing your body to swell up completely. You won't explode like you see in movies, but if the lack of oxygen doesn't kill you, then the damage from depressurization will. So, you should never, ever, go into outer space without a space suit.

    This article actually taught me something. I always thought, in all honesty, that without a space suit, your body would explode in outer space. I never knew all those horrible things happen, and then you die from depressurization. Those damages seem horrific to go through, i hope i never hear any horrible stories that include those injuries.

  • yarelyc-Koc
    5/23/2014 - 03:10 a.m.

    wow this was one of the biggest questions I had for a long time . will the atmosphere protects us from ultraviolet radiation. it helps with the temperature of the world so its not to cold or to hot for us. The one thing you should know about going to spaces is the danger of asphyxiation.

  • toryhernandez
    5/23/2014 - 07:58 a.m.

    Not only does the atmosphere provide oxygen, it gives everyone ultraviolet radiation in order to survive. However, not everyone could go in space to discover other things out there. You wouldn't be able to breathe because the air is different. Your brain then loses consciousness.

  • Deishia
    5/23/2014 - 08:01 a.m.

    This article is about space. This is explaining how the atmosphere protects us from ultraviolet radiation.This is located in space.The article doesn't really tell us when this research or article was done.

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