Howard County Maryland Blog

Convention of States in Maryland

Space, the final frontier and our only hope.

Posted by Ed C on Friday, December 1, 2006

Okay, not politics, but space has always been something that I’ve been interested in. I can remember listing to Jules Bergman covering the Apollo missions and hanging on every word.

Stephen Hawking believes that humans must colonize planets in other solar systems or face extinction; “But once we spread out into space and establish independent colonies, our future should be safe,”

Sure there will be a few technological problems (this is a huge understatement) that must be overcome, but from a different story, it seems that the exposure to a vacuum is probably not the messy death sentence as depicted in science fiction.

Check out this Damn Interesting Story.

In scores of science fiction stories, hapless adventurers find themselves unwittingly introduced to the vacuum of space without proper 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. The ill-fated adventurers rapidly swell like over-inflated balloons, ultimately bursting in a gruesome spray of blood.

Apparently, a human may have about 10 seconds to try to save themselves and have about 60 – 90 seconds to have pressurized oxygen to be restored and still be able to make complete recovery with only minor injuries. Okay, it does not sound like something that I’d like to voluntarily go through, but at least there is a chance.

One bit of advise is that if you are ever a victim of explosive decompression you should not try to hold your breath, “A victim of explosive decompression greatly increases their chances of survival simply by exhaling within the first few seconds, otherwise death is likely to occur once the lungs rupture and spill bubbles of air into the circulatory system. Such a life-saving exhalation might be due to a shout of surprise.”

A shout of surprise? Speaking for myself, I’m sure it would be more of a “OH (expletive deleted)”


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