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 (182)
  • bc31food
    5/22/2014 - 08:39 a.m.

    That is scary, not having a spacesuit in space, i would hate the feeling of not being able to breath, but space being freezing cold with no protection would be even worse, hopefully no one loses their spacesuit in space.

  • sb28bookworm
    5/22/2014 - 08:40 a.m.

    I wonder if before space suits were invented, this harm was caused to humans that went out into space. And i cant even imagine how horrible it would be. Id rather stay down here on earth.

  • lanaijahstewart
    5/22/2014 - 10:31 a.m.

    OMG! This is really dangerous. I just think that only scientist should go in to space. There are some really dangerous effects that can happen if you go out into space. It is not safe for anyone of for your health. People should just stay on Earth.

  • isaiah12321
    5/22/2014 - 10:57 a.m.

    i want to do this. because it looks really cool.Bad things happen, my friends. Lots of bad things.
    What happens to you in space without a space suit?

  • Coolcat1
    5/22/2014 - 11:55 a.m.

    Wow, this is a very cool thing that can happen. I just feel bad for the people who did go in space without a suit. It is very scary and you can't hear anything.

  • LazariusB7AMS
    5/22/2014 - 12:44 p.m.

    The space station is growing big by building new stuff and space ship when they life off they go bad thing can happen to the people who is test .

  • ar18cupcakes
    5/22/2014 - 12:58 p.m.

    I knew it was bad and it wasn't safe. But I didnt think it was htat bad. It must be a very painful process to go through. I wouldn't want to experience it.

  • KC10soccer
    5/22/2014 - 01:00 p.m.

    who would be dumb enough to even try and go out in outer space without a suit its dangerous enough goig with a suit and with all that protection youre provided vvith as an astronaut.

  • cam-Cla
    5/22/2014 - 02:21 p.m.

    yes i think you would die. but it would be more affectave than that. you would EXPLODE or you could just die and SUFFICATE or shrivel up.

  • LydiaBlackQ4
    5/22/2014 - 02:48 p.m.

    I really like the way this article is written first of all. And to answer the Critical Thinking Challenge: The atmosphere provides protection from ultraviolet radiation and regulates temperature and wraps us in a cocoon of air pressure. I never knew the Earth provided that much for us it's crazy. I really thought that this article would be good for Tweens to read.

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