A couple of spacesuit experts have set the record straight regarding what would actually happen if an astronaut’s spacesuit gets punctured while in space.
Truth be told, Worf almost had the right idea when he stop-gapped a hole in his suit with a rope in Star Trek: The First Contact.
Worf seals spacesuit puncture in Star Trek: The First Contact
Peter Quill’s survival in Guardians of The Galaxy, however, is more fiction than science. Without a spacesuit, Quill would have definitely died.
A spacesuit failure in itself, however, has never actually claimed any lives.
During an AMA, curator Cathleen Lewis and conservator Lisa Young of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum — responsible for preserving Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit — told the Reddit community to “please forget everything that you have seen in science fiction movies about spacesuit failures.”
According to Lewis, there “have been four documented cases of spacesuit failures in history. None resulted in deaths.”
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“Without a spacesuit and the oxygen necessary to breathe, an astronaut would immediately feel the nitrogen coming out of his fluids, almost like the tears and saliva were carbonated,” she explained to the eager Redditors.
“After about 15 seconds, he would pass out and, without an emergency rescue, he would die within two minutes.
“The body would float in space and only very slowly lose body heat because there is no efficient way to radiate heat away from the body.
“In the case of a small puncture, usually the flesh would swell in the immediate area and stopper the hole. This can be extremely painful, but the victim would recover.
So, Worf had the right idea (sort of).