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Outer Space Exposure

Armstrong on the moon.In movies, when space farers are exposed to the vacuum of space without adequate protection, there is often an alarming cacophony of screams and gasps as the increasingly bloated humans writhe and spasm. Their exposed veins and eyeballs soon bulge in what is clearly a disagreeable manner. This depiction of what would happen under such a circumstance is actually not true. In fact, one is able to make a complete recovery with only minor injuries when help is administered within the first one and a half minutes. Damn Interesting has an interesting article on it. A snippet is as follows.

For about ten full seconds– a long time to be loitering in space without protection– an average human would be rather uncomfortable, but they would still have their wits about them. Depending on the nature of the decompression, this may give a victim sufficient time to take measures to save their own life. But this period of "useful consciousness" would wane as the effects of brain asphyxiation begin to set in. In the absence of air pressure the gas exchange of the lungs works in reverse, dumping oxygen out of the blood and accelerating the oxygen-starved state known as hypoxia. After about ten seconds a victim will experience loss of vision and impaired judgement, and the cooling effect of evaporation will lower the temperature in the victim's mouth and nose to near-freezing. Unconsciousness and convulsions would follow several seconds later, and a blue discoloration of the skin called cyanosis would become evident.

Link & Image: Damn Interesting
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