What happens if you're unsuited in space? Debunking myths with science

Venturing into space without a protective suit exposes the human body to the vacuum of space, leading to immediate air loss from the lungs, bodily fluid vaporization, and eventual freezing. This stark reality, far from Hollywood dramatizations, results in certain death within minutes, underscoring the critical importance of spacesuits for astronaut survival.

Publication: 06.02.2024 - 16:48
What happens if you're unsuited in space? Debunking myths with science
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Ever wondered what happens if you're in space without a suit?

While most of us will likely never face this scenario, it's a question that movies have tried to answer in dramatic ways. Contrary to Hollywood's depiction of instant freezing or explosive decompression, the reality is far more complex and intense.

YouTuber ZackDFilms delves into this topic, correcting the popular belief that you'd explode in space.

Instead, the first signs of trouble include losing all air from your lungs and experiencing your arms swelling as your body begins to vaporize. Quickly, you'd lose consciousness due to oxygen deprivation. Over time, your body would drift away and eventually freeze solid, a stark contrast to the instant effects often shown in films.


Dr. Kris Lehnhardt from NASA's Human Research Program highlights the science behind these effects, noting the body's high water content and how it reacts in a vacuum. The lack of pressure would cause bodily fluids to boil and expand, leading to certain death in less than two minutes. NASA confirms that the vacuum would also pull air out of your lungs, replacing it with vaporized body liquids.

This simulation serves as a chilling reminder of space's hostility and the critical role of spacesuits in astronaut survival. Far from the quick end seen in movies, the process is gradual and unforgiving, underscoring the dangers lurking beyond Earth's protective atmosphere.

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