How Long Could an Astronaut Survive in Space without a Spacesuit?

There's no doubt that going into space would be an incredible experience. But that final frontier can also be quite frightening in ways that we on Earth don't have to fear. For example, if an astronaut were to somehow drift off into space without wearing a spacesuit, he or she would only have about 15 seconds before losing consciousness from lack of oxygen. The astronaut would die within a couple of minutes unless he could be swiftly rescued and repressurized back inside the spacecraft. However, survival would only be possible if the astronaut remembered to expel the air in his lungs before experiencing the drop in pressure in space. If he instead opted to take a deep breath and tried to hold it, the air in his lungs would quickly expand, tearing the lung tissue and forcing air bubbles into the bloodstream. Kind of takes your breath away, doesn't it.

Give me some space:

  • NASA spacesuits protect against cold as low as -250 degrees Fahrenheit (-157 °C) and sunlight that can heat up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit (121 °C)
  • The first person to walk in space was Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, who conducted his 12-minute extravehicular activity (EVA) on March 18, 1965.
  • In 2001, American astronauts Susan Helms and James Voss set the record for longest spacewalk, at 8 hours, 56 minutes.
More Info: Slate

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Forgot password?