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Follow Up To Space Exposure

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Posted by Scott on August 25, 2002 21:43:55 UTC

I am currently writing a story involving a multiple murder on a space station. Looking for info regarding what effects space expose might have on a body, I came across a posting on this very subject (posted by Brett Evill), on this forum dating back to March 27, 2000.

On the topic, Brett wrote:
"A human body exposed to space would not explode. It would freeze-dry, just like foods that are exposed to vacuum to preserve them. . . . A human body contains moisture, and will therefore give forth water vapour. But this will not accumulate to the point of satuartion: the molecules will gradually drift forth into the vastness of Space. So the body will gradually dry out. . . . It may take quite some time for the body to freeze-dry itself.
As for a living person exposed to a vacuum. . . a person would pass out for lack of oxygen within about fifteen seconds, and would shortly die of anoxia. . . . There might, however, be some superficial injury, a combination of frostbite and chapping, which would affect the moist tissues of the eyes and respiratory tracts well before death."

Brett contends that such freezing would be somewhat "gradual" (even in the coldness of space). My question is: How gradual? And also what discernible difference, if any, might it make (i.e. in an autopsy) if the exposure is made POSTMORTUM--and for only a brief few minutes? What effect of the exposed blood and skin?-etc.

My thanks for any input--and now I sign off wishing all a cheery day!

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