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What happens if someone dies in space

What happens if someone dies in space

The bodies stick around for much longer than you might think.

Have you ever wondered what would happen to your body if you were to die out in space? Researchers have put their brains together to answer the difficult questions regarding the unusual scenario.

NASA are planning another space mission to send humans to the moon within the next seven years, with wilder plans to send people to Mars in the 2030s.

The journey to the red planet will require a long-distance mission and many months in space. Because of this, there's a need to consider how humans will survive such a long time out in the ether.

There's plans for humans to travel to Mars in the 2030s.
WikiImages/Pixabay

Since the beginning of human spaceflight over 60 years ago, 20 people have died. However, none of these deaths were actually in space and were due to failed launches before leaving the Earth's atmosphere.

Though NASA hasn't illustrated set protocols for dealing with a death that happens in space (because they haven't had to deal with it yet), some of the world's space researchers have come up with their own hypothesis.

One of the ways someone could die in space is by being exposed to its vacuum without having a suitably pressurised suit to protect them.

Chris Hadfield, Canadian astronaut and former commander of the International Space Station, shares his thoughts on what could be the worst possible outcome.

He said: "In the worst case scenario, something happens during a spacewalk.

"You could suddenly be struck by a micro-meteorite, and there's nothing you can do about that.

"It could puncture a hole in your suit, and within a few seconds you're incapacitated."

Here comes the gruesome part. You probably thought it was just a dramatic effect for films, but nope.

If an astronaut's suit tears in space, it's game over.
Pixabay

Emmanuel Urquieta, professor of space medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, described the horrific death experienced by an astronaut who was exposed to the vacuum, saying that it would become impossible for them to breathe and their blood and other bodily fluids would effectively boil.

According to Popular Science, the unfortunate astronaut's blood would vaporise, along with the water in their body, in just 10 seconds.

They would lose consciousness in 15 seconds as their body horrifically expanded and their lungs collapsed. They'd be paralysed or more likely dead in 30 seconds, most likely of asphyxiation or decompression.

Then there's the issue of burial - or lack thereof.

If someone died on Mars, Urquieta explained burial or cremation wouldn't be possible as they 'could contaminate the Martian surface'.

He said 'the crew would likely preserve the body in a specialised body bag until it could be returned to Earth'.

If the astronaut was unlucky enough to die out in space, their body would eventually enter a frozen or mummified state and float through the ether - potentially for millions of years, since there's no oxygen to prompt decomposition - until it was destroyed by a planet or star, or perhaps heat or radiation.

A cheery thought for a Sunday.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Photos

Topics: Space, Science