What happens to a person if he dies in outer space

In December 2022, something interesting awaits us – SpaceX will send a new group of space tourists into low Earth orbit. Unlike previous amateur astronauts, the crew of four will be able to go into space and see with their own eyes what was previously only available to professionals. It goes without saying that before they go into space, they must undergo a briefing, because there are many dangers in space – for example, there is a possibility of colliding with fragments of old rockets. Of course, we have to hope that everything goes well. But still the question arises: what happens to a person if he dies in space? Will his body disintegrate over time, or will it float forever in outer space?

The probability of dying in space today is small, but with the growing popularity of the space tourist, it will grow.

How does a body decay on earth?

After death, each person’s body goes through several stages of decomposition, after which only a skeleton remains. This phenomenon was described in detail in 1247 by the Chinese scientist Song Tzu – he is considered the author of the first manual on forensic medicine.

First of all, after cardiac arrest, the blood stops flowing in the human body. Under the influence of gravity, blood clots accumulate in the body – this phenomenon is called livor mortis or simply “cadaveric spots”. Then calcium begins to accumulate in the muscle fibers and the body becomes hard, which is called rigor mortis.

Scientists have known for a long time how the human body decomposes on Earth

Furthermore, proteins that accelerate the course of chemical reactions destroy the cell walls. If you take the opportunity, the bacteria that live in our intestines come out and spread quickly throughout the body. They eat soft tissues and emit gases that cause the body to swell. When muscles and soft tissues are destroyed, rigor mortis disappears – the body becomes very soft.

In the event that the environmental conditions involve the presence of oxygen, plus temperature and at least some moisture, the skin and soft tissues disappear completely, leaving only the skeleton. But in the absence of air, the body breaks down in a completely different way.

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How does a body decay in space?

In space conditions, where there is no gravity and air, the human body breaks down in a completely different way. Fortunately, there have been no deaths in outer space, so scientists only have a rough idea of ​​this phenomenon. The process will proceed differently, depending on whether the person is in a space suit or not.

A man without a spacesuit in space will not be affected by either internal or external heat sources, so he will quickly freeze through. How long the human body will be able to float in space without changes, scientists do not know exactly. Unless it collides with space debris or an asteroid, it will most likely be in space forever. However, there is a possibility that over time the body will still reach some planet and completely burn up in its atmosphere. If she exists, of course.

Without a spacesuit, a person in space will simply freeze through.

If a person at the time of death is wearing a space suit, the heating and life support system will probably work for him for some time. In the presence of heat and oxygen sufficient for the life of bacteria, the decomposition process will occur in much the same way as on Earth. Except, perhaps, for the appearance of cadaveric spots, since there is no gravitational force in space. But as soon as the suit is turned off, the human body will freeze in the same way as in the case of his absence. The only difference will be that the body, due to the presence of heat at the beginning, can still partially decompose.

Death in space is one of the most horrific end-of-life options.

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When astronauts go into outer space, there is always the risk of breaking away from the ship or station and flying off into infinite space. Of course, they are tied with a cable, but it can always break. In this case, the first thing a person will face is loneliness. According to researchers, before death, a person can suffer a lot from feelings of hopelessness and horror, and this can last for a whole week or even more. About how serious loneliness in space is and how scientists are trying to protect future space travelers from it, we talked about in this material.

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