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Blackberry's avatar

How long would an astronaut last in space if they were separated from the station and drifted off?

Asked by Blackberry (29040 points ) January 11th, 2012

I saw this picture of an astronaut that was essentially testing a jetpack that they would use to do work outside of the station. He’s the furthest an astronaut has ever been from the station.

But I was thinking about the tragedy of the malfunction that would cause him to drift off. Assuming he couldn’t be retrieved, what would happen to him?

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22 Answers

digitalimpression's avatar

Around 7 hours before his oxygen system will give out.

YoKoolAid's avatar

His/her suit would stop supplying oxygen resulting in suffocation, followed by the effects of extreme cold on the human body.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

I believe an astronaut unfortunate enough to get into this situation would die of carbon dioxide poisoning once the oxygen supply ran out and the scrubbers in the PLSS became saturated.

Blackberry's avatar

Oh, brain fart. I totally forgot about the oxygen system. Heheh….

Haleth's avatar

That picture provoked a lot of emotion from me. Look at all that empty space… imagine being alone out there.

Blackberry's avatar

@Haleth Indeed. I don’t even know which emotion to actually choose.

cookieman's avatar

@Haleth: That is a pretty humbling photograph.

YoKoolAid's avatar

Reminds me of that scene from Space Camp 1986, ever seen it?

Blackberry's avatar

Nope. Is it good?

Symbeline's avatar

I guess until his oxygen supply maxed itself out, as already said. What a freaky thought lol.

Blackberry's avatar

Is anyone else thinking of what your last moments would be like out there? It would be so serene and chaotic at the same time. You would be helpless, so all you could really do is laugh, cry, scream, laugh more, and then fall into a helpless acceptance and admire the universe before you leave it.

I wonder what it feels like to die in space.

Symbeline's avatar

@Blackberry It probbaly really sucks. Nothing dramatic or movie like about it. I assume that I would ignore all logic, and try to smash the front part of the helmet as I struggle for air.

deni's avatar

GOD I WISH THAT WAS ME. If it was that pic would definitely be my facebook profile picture.

JLeslie's avatar

@Blackberry I think if the loss of oxygen got him the last couple minutes are horrendous. Dying from asphixia is pretty unpleasent I think. If the space pack stopped working I wonder if he would begin to tumble? I don’t know how steady he would be, might be very anxiety provoking? Along with knowing that is your last few hours. Also, if the cold got to him somehow, that would be painful too, until he lost consciousness. I just don’t know enough about space, this is all guessing on my part.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@JLeslie even if she did begin to tumble, how would she know if she had zero gravity and no reference point nearby? Kind of a lonely way to die, I’d think.

King_Pariah's avatar

Incoming meteor shower BOOM! HEADSHOT!

sorry, couldn’t help myself

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I would be soooo tempted to throw a monkey wrench at planet earth.

King_Pariah's avatar

“In recent news in the entertainment sector, Justin Bieber was killed by what seemed to be a falling monkey wrench. Whether it was an accident or manslaughter is currently under investigation. Either way, whoever performed this act apparently staved off the apocalypse as dictated by the Mayan Calendar…”

rebbel's avatar

That picture is quite fantastic!
I thought the space around the astronaut was littered with millions of stars, but now I realize I have to clean my screen.
Thanks for that!

mattbrowne's avatar

Suppose there was limitless supply of oxygen, water and food. This would still mean bones and muscles would eventually fail because there are no counteracting forces. Nothing to push against.

JLeslie's avatar

@WestRiverrat I would think you know you are tumbling. Plus, wouldn’t there be stars? Or, is it completely pitch black?

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