Questions tagged [vacuum]

Questions regarding the effects and conditions in a 'partial vacuum' or space with a gaseous pressure significantly smaller than atmospheric pressure.

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37
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1answer
6k views

Why does there appear to be a 180-degree stereo microphone array outside the ISS?

I was watching a feed on the latest footage of Hurricane Matthew as seen from the ISS just now, relayed from NASA TV. Suddenly, I spotted something poking out of the ISS hull in the footage that ...
35
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4answers
12k views

If an astronaut threw a cup of coffee into space, would it freeze, or boil off into gas?

If an astronaut threw a cup of coffee into space somehow, would it freeze into a block, or boil off into gas due to the zero pressure?
33
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1answer
8k views

How do manned spacecraft achieve an airtight connection while docking?

By another question I was reminded how hard it is to build airtight equipment such as vacuum chambers from multiple pieces. Docking or berthing space ships / space station modules is a rather similar ...
30
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3answers
11k views

Was the ship decompression scene in the movie Aliens realistic?

I was directed here from Sci-Fi SE to pose this question. Towards the end of the Aliens (1986) movie, Ripley is forced to override the clearly marked "outer door" control having already ...
24
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4answers
2k views

Are artificial satellites completely sealed or open to space?

Are artificial satellites such as communication or weather satellites completely sealed or are they open to space? (In either case, why? How are their electronics (un)affected? Presumably they can be ...
21
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2answers
7k views

Is it real to patch an opening to the vacuum with plastic tarp and duct tape as in Martian?

In the Martian movie Watney patched a broken door to the martian surface with plastic tarp and duct tape. The pressure on Mars is 0.5 kPa, which is 200 times smaller, that on Earth (100 kPa), i.e. it ...
17
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4answers
5k views

Decay of a corpse in space?

This is not nice perspective, but eventually it will happen. An astronaut falls out of spaceship because of damage caused by collision with other object, or because of suit decompression. The fluids ...
16
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2answers
2k views

Could the void of space act as a good refrigerator for food in long journeys?

Providing a theoretical journey to some far place, could the void of space be used as a good refrigerator for food since it is very cold ? Assuming that radiations in the void space are somehow ...
15
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6answers
5k views

What are the considerations for smelting iron and aluminum in space?

Iron and aluminum are the two most common metals in the Earth's crust. While we can't know for sure what we'll find for raw resources when we start building factories in space, if we assume that iron ...
13
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3answers
9k views

Would unpainted iron or steel rust in space?

Iron and steel are made primarily of the same substance and they tend to rust. I believe other materials like non-ferrous metal are generally preferred for their lighter weight and strength, in most ...
10
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2answers
2k views

Could there be any use with importing vacuum from space to Earth?

Space exploration pessimists say that there's nothing to import from space to Earth. So why not begin with doing exactly that?! :-) It's commonly claimed that the vacuum of space is harder (emptier) ...
9
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2answers
7k views

What would happen if I throw a grenade in space?

What would happen if I throw a grenade in space? Would it explode? Or will it just keep floating forever?
9
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4answers
308 views

What engineering processes (satellite/space vehicle related) require an atmosphere

So we all know that there are lots of engineering processes that are made 100 times better by negligible gravity, and that certain engineering process need to be performed in a vacuum (electron beam ...
9
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1answer
1k views

Mars Vacuum-blimp Feasability

There's an article published by NASA in which they discuss the practicality of using an evacuated blimp or airship on Mars. Their main points are that since the exterior pressure is so much lower, ...
8
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3answers
11k views

What does the exhaust plume of a rocket look like in vacuum?

There are plenty of photos of rocket tests and launches in atmosphere, and in these the exhaust plume tends to be a long thin flame. Is this true for when rocket engines operate in a vacuum? My guess ...
8
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1answer
3k views

What is the ring at the bottom of the Merlin vacuum engine?

When watching SpaceX launches, around 2-3 seconds after the Merlin Vacuum ignition a ring can be seen breaking in 2 from the bottom of the nozzle and then falling away from the second stage. My ...
8
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1answer
1k views

Is there any type of mechanical bearing that can be used in the full vacuum of space?

Plenty of spacecraft seem to have moving parts. Space shuttle doors open, robot arms manipulate things, etc. This is perplexing, when we consider that lubricating oil probably won't remain liquid, ...
8
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1answer
265 views

Has any spacecraft to date suffered catastrophic gasket degeneration in space?

A gasket is a precisely formed body of some (yielding) material placed at a mating surface usually to prevent leakage. It may also be constructed of an alloy as was done in early IC engines. ...
7
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2answers
853 views

What happens to a body, that has been exposed to vacuum, once brought back onboard?

You are on a ship in the cold vacuum of space. You find a body of an astronaut exposed to vacuum (for this instance just assume human, but you never know). The body was essentially freeze dried and ...
7
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2answers
682 views

Could you "hose wash" a space suit on the Moon or Mars?

There are some concerns about Lunar dust attaching to the space suits during the Apollo missions. So Suitports are being developed. On Earth, cars get pretty dirty too, but a car wash solves that. ...
6
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3answers
4k views

How come we don’t put a huge windmill-like machine in space? [closed]

I am new to this sight, but since space being a vacuum there is little to no air resistance at all making a windmill spin forever. There is no wind in space however, if you spin it once, it should ...
6
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5answers
4k views

Has any living thing been directly exposed to the vacuum of space

In our several decades of spaceflight have we ever exposed any living organism to space? I'm pretty sure this hasn't happened to Humans, but have we jettisoned some lab rats into space ("for science") ...
6
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6answers
3k views

Do electronics and mechanical components work in a vacuum or require a sealed controlled atmosphere?

I'm curious about the electronics and other instruments on Voyager and similar spacecraft. Are the electronic components kept in open vacuum or in a sealed atmosphere? I imagine cooling gets tricky ...
6
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1answer
160 views

Are galvanised steel parts safe to use in space?

Are galvanised steel parts safe to use in space (high-vacuum environment), e.g. washers, fasteners, nuts? I've heard that zinc can sublimate at low pressures.
6
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0answers
125 views

Why do spacesuits have air in the body? [duplicate]

Wouldn’t it be easier to make a space suit that only maintains air around the head, and just has a “tight” insulated and shielded suit around the body? It seems to me the reasons we need a space ...
5
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1answer
129 views

Why were some early interplanetary probes pressurized?

Mariners 2 through 9, and the Soviet spacecraft of that era, sometimes suffered from leaks that impaired or disabled parts of their scientific payloads. What kinds of sensors couldn't work in vacuum? ...
5
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1answer
533 views

Purpose of foil on Merlin Vacuum Engines of SpaceX

I want to know what is the purpose of this silvery foil situated above the bell in Merlin Vacuum Engines, and what purpose does it fulfill exactly?
5
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1answer
1k views

What type of electrical wiring provides the longest life in space?

It sound like standard electrical wire as you would use in earth bound transportation would have a significantly shorter life in the vacuum of space. (See related Do plasticizers evaporate in space?) ...
5
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0answers
135 views

What are these white garbage-like things on Falcon 9 vacuum engine? [duplicate]

On recent launch I noticed, that some white things jumping on vacuum engine in space. Something like garbage or condensate. See video at right at times when Earth is at left: ...
5
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0answers
181 views

Pool on the Moon?

Hypothetical scenario: There is a dome on the moon containing an Olympic-size swimming pool. Our intrepid hero is receiving a scuba diving lesson at the bottom of the pool (3m) when a hull breach ...
4
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4answers
2k views

Would a spaceplane be able to softly land on an airless planet?

Assuming the spaceplane has no vertical (hover)engines, is there a possibility to land a spaceplane on a celestial body without atmosphere in a horizontal way as if it had one? One could lower the ...
4
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1answer
2k views

Is it possible to bring "nothing" back from space?

I think the ultimate souvenir would be not a moon rock or a martian, but space "nothing", but I wonder if this is physically possible... Can an astronaut go out to space with an open container, close ...
4
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1answer
243 views

How rover landing is achieved on planets with very low atmospheric pressure?

I would like to understand how safe landing of a rover is achieved on mars or any other planet where the pressure is very low. Is it achieved by releasing gas from high pressure to low pressure. I ...
4
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1answer
752 views

What is the air pressure threshold for cold welding?

Cold welding is a problem in vacuum of space - where two metal parts come into contact, they may weld accidentally to each other. As I understand, even a little air or other substance prevents it. My ...
4
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1answer
177 views

Flight Suit Pressurization

I'm curious about the pressurization of a full pressure flight suit (such as). For example, the linked suit has an operating pressure of 3.5 psi, but my assumption would be that during normal flight ...
4
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1answer
195 views

Do plasticizers evaporate in space?

A recent statement in an answer got me wondering. I looked and could not find an answer on space.se Polymers (think plastic cladding on wires) has "plasticizers", which make it elastic instead of ...
4
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0answers
172 views

Do vacuum-grade oils and greases trivially solve the "lubricants don't work in space, cold welding happens" problem (for short to moderate duration)?

(Related: How is the unwanted cold welding prevented in space?) I've often seen talk about fairly simple mechanical devices (hand tools, simple handheld power tools, firearms, etc) being unlikely to ...
4
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0answers
85 views

How are electrical and other utilities interfaces added to an operating pressurised spacecraft?

How are extra utility lines and pipes, like data, electrical, ?or gasses and fluids, added to a manned, pressurised and operating vehicle or habitat, in space? A spacecraft may be launched with, ...
3
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2answers
734 views

In the absolute vacuum of Space, will an electric dynamo still work? [duplicate]

In the absolute vacuum of Space, will an electric dynamo still work? Can it produce an electric current if it is not inside (or being affected by) a magnetic field (like earth's magnetosphere)?
3
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4answers
877 views

near space vacuum balloon

OK we know that due to air pressure a vacuum balloon would not be possible on earth. But would it be possible to create one that floated near space with almost no air pressure? If so how much ...
3
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1answer
3k views

Could you hear the sound of your own body in the vacuum of space?

I think the answer to this question probably lies more in biology than astrophysics. If you were in space with an oxygen mask on (ignoring the fact that you will get quite cold for the moment) you ...
3
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1answer
127 views

Spacesuit needed for 1 psi 100% methane atmosphere - 60 Fahrenheit?

What sort of spacesuit would an astronaut need if she were to walk on a planet with a 1 psi (0.07 ATM) 100% methane atmosphere and -60°F (-50°C) temperatures?
3
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0answers
198 views

Can I freshen my clothes on the ISS with a clothes line?

There are a number of questions about washing clothes on the ISS, the short answer is that they do NOT wash them. Nudism in space: Why wear clothes anyway? Washing clothes in space: are there any ...
3
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0answers
122 views

What is currently known as the thinnest combination of material to hold 1 atm in space?

What is currently known as the thinnest combination of material to hold 1 atm in space? Note: must define what the composing materials are.
3
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0answers
165 views

How far/much time could an appendage extend outside of the ISS before succumbing to severe damage?

I was reading the question asked here in regards the Alexander Gerst's patching of a small (5mm) hole with his thumb temporarily. This got me wondering, if his thumb was only fine because the majority ...
2
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1answer
127 views

Was there a measurable effect on gas concentration on the Moon during the Apollo missions?

Gas was released by the Apollo Lunar Modules during depressurization of the cabin in preparation to an EVA. Did this release of oxygen had a measurable effect despite the small amount of gas and the ...
2
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2answers
661 views

How much efficiency is lost from a fixed De Laval nozzle when modified for atmospheric use?

Fixed nozzles designed for vacuum are larger/broader than those designed for atmospheric or combined air/space use, which have less flanged nozzles due to the drag a larger flange would incur in the ...
2
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0answers
132 views

Why nozzle extensions for ULA's Vulcan; why not make them this long in the first place?

This answer to What is the difference between the Vulcan 562 configuration and the Vulcan 5H2 ("Heavy") configuration? explains that the 2nd stage nozzles were modified by extending them, ...
1
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1answer
194 views

What would happen if you jumped out of a moving spacecraft?

I've watched a film where one of the characters claimed to have rapidly disembarked a moving spacecraft during a 5g burn (?!) and immediately wondered how he survived. For example, you're on a ...
1
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2answers
183 views

Can we create a vacuum inside an EVA suit when the outside is pressurized, will it implode?

EVA suits are specially designed spacecrafts for astronauts during spacewalks. I can say for sure, it can handle the following cases of pressurization of the system: Pressurized inside, but vacuum ...