Science Fact: Exposure to vacuum

      5 Comments on Science Fact: Exposure to vacuum

One of the things I try to do when I write my stories is to keep them as scientifically accurate as I possibly can. It is a bit of a challenge since I am essentially writing about wizards in space with faster then light starships and hand held blasters but I do make a concentrated effort to only include science that is either known to be true, or is at least plausible based on current science. This post will be the first of many that will show up randomly to discuss some of the facts I come across while doing research for my novels.

In Spectra’s Gambit there will be a scene where a character risks exposure to the hard vacuum of space for a brief period of time. Anyone who has watched popular science fiction movies and television shows will be familiar with the various myths about what should happen to anyone who is exposed to vacuum. I have personally heard it said that you blood boils off, you inflate like a balloon and explode, or that you freeze instantly. Any which way, popular science fiction has pretty much planted the idea in our heads that exposure to the hard vacuum of space is instantly bad.

Let me clear this up right now, you have been lied to. Straight up, that is utter fantasy designed to make cool scenes in movies and TV. In fact, you would not even loose consciousness for the first fifteen seconds, and your greatest risk in those seconds is from sunburn (assuming your near a star of course). In fact you can live for around ninety seconds in space with out a space suit.  Just incase this ever happens to you, here is a pro survival trick when exposed to vacuum, according to NASA, don’t hold your breath!

NASA has a great write up on this if you wish to explore this topic in more depth. You can find it -> HERE <-

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5 thoughts on “Science Fact: Exposure to vacuum

  1. Loey

    Thanks for the info and the link to the Nasa article. You’ve definitely piqued my curiosity about Spectra’s encounter! Loving Sac’a’rith!!!!

  2. Ken Davidson

    That is very interesting information from NASA. I like most had never given it a second thought.
    Did you get to read Enders Game. Saw it on your wish list. I just finished The Ender Quintet, it was a very good read. Have you heard of Spinward Fringe by Randloph Lalonde. I just pulled it out of my archive to retread while waiting on Spectra’s Gambit. It is also about space, wizards and magic. Thought it was tops on the subject line before I found your books. How’s that for buttering you up.
    Thanks for writing your books that help keep all us SiFi readers going.
    Your fan who’s old enough to be your dad, Ken

    1. Vincent Post author


      Thanks for your kind words! I actually read Ender’s Game back in 1985 when the novel was first released. I also read Speaker for the Dead when it came out, but then I lost track of the series. Ender’s Game was one of my favorite books of that time, and I suspect it has influenced my writing more then a little bit. BTW- Ender’s Game is still on my wish list, though I should probably put the full quintet on there.

      For a while I was moving around the country a lot and along the way had to give my my dead tree collect of books so now I am hopping to rebuy many of them as ebooks since they are not quite as heavy to ship. 😉

      I have also read Spinward Fringe, but only Broadcast 0. I read it before he had enough money to go back and have the books edited. At that time it was full of formatting issues that made it a bit hard to read. I enjoyed the story, and probably will at some point return to that series, especially now that he has them cleaned up. I do not recall their being any wizards in it, but maybe they show up in later books?

      1. Ken Davidson

        Thanks for the kind reply but that’s what happens when you get old. I was all wrong about the books with wizards. I have read so many books lately I glues I get them confused. You are correct about Spinward Fringe not containing wizards. I have spent most of the morning looking through my ebook library trying to find the book I was talking about. Finally found it and to my embarrassment it was your books. Maybe I was wrong about being old enough to be you dad, more like your grandfather. Getting that old timers disease.

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