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Recently, I have been learning about satellites present in space, and one of the discussions was the danger of the variance of temperatures, as space can be both incredibly hot and cold. I understand that the heat is absorbed from radiation from the sun, but I don't understand why the cold is a danger. While satellites do have to radiate off some heat to regulate temperature, as radiation is a controlled method of heat release for spacecraft why would the cold hurt the spacecraft.

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The main danger is large swings in temperature. When materials heat up, they expand, and every material expands at a different rate. When cooling down, materials contract at different rates. This causes stress in places where different materials are used in one part, especially in electronics. Over time, this can cause breaks in printed circuit boards etc., and the part will stop working.

Second, the behavior of a solid depends on its temperature. Rubber becomes inflexible at ~-100 ºC. Other materials become brittle and weaken.

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  • $\begingroup$ Ok but what would cause the drop in temperature, as their are no particles to dissipate heat to in space? $\endgroup$ – Professor_Joykill Mar 9 '18 at 8:35
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    $\begingroup$ You can also lose heat through radiation. $\endgroup$ – Hobbes Mar 9 '18 at 8:59

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