Watching Away I learn about a Russian “ghost story”, which is about an air leak within a space station's module named Spektr leading to a distinct hissing noise (air leaking into space). How can this event incur blowing the crew's brains out? Further, where can I learn more about the specifics of this historic incident?

  • $\begingroup$ As to the issue of "blowing the crew's brains out": As long as the rate of delta-p is not too excessive, the situation is not hazardous (as it relates to ambient pressure). Consider, for example, the return of a deep-diving SCUBA diver back to the water's surface...best done gradually. $\endgroup$
    – Digger
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 18:28

1 Answer 1


This seems to be the Mir module Spektr - damaged in a 1997 collision which caused an air leak. It was evacuated and sealed off, though later had to be reopened so that power cables could be reconnected.

No brains blown out, though - everyone survived. There is a short recording here from the BBC, with one of the crew on board explaining the experience.

Edit: as pointed out in the comments, there's a detailed discussion of this in Dragonfly: NASA and the Crisis Aboard Mir (Bryan Burrough, 1999), and a summary of how the crew recovered from the accident is in this related question. One of the sources for it is this NASA oral history interview with Michael Foale, made the year after the accident, which goes into a lot more detail.


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