Would you freeze in space? The chilling truth.

Space exploration has always been one of the magical, wonder-inspiring subjects that have piqued people’s curiosity. Many of us have always wondered what it would be like to explore the vast expanses beyond our planet, and for some of us, having an experience beyond the Earth’s atmosphere would be a dream come true. But for all the excitement and fascination that space inspires, there is still one question that remains to be asked: Would you freeze in space? The chilling truth is that our bodies were never designed to exist in the harsh, unforgiving vacuum of space. This article delves deeper into the subject to provide you with a comprehensive answer.

Properties of Space that Affect the Body

There are several noteworthy properties of space that significantly affect the human body. These are as follows:

  • Vacuum: As we know, space is a vacuum therefore there is no air pressure or atmosphere. A human body has an internal air pressure (around 14.7 pounds per square inch), which when exposed to zero air pressure can lead to the gases inside expanding.
  • Temperature: In space, temperature can fluctuate drastically. An area exposed to the sun (such as the helmet of a spacesuit) can be hot whilst shaded areas can be incredibly cold. When a body is exposed to these temperatures without any form of insulation, rapid temperature changes can cause the internal organs to shut down.
  • Radiation: Space is full of radiation, from cosmic rays emitted by the sun to high-energy particles from distant galaxies. This radiation can penetrate the human body, causing significant damage to the cells and tissues.
  • Gravity: The gravitational pull on Earth is around 1G, which enables us to stand upright, whereas in space there is no gravity. This means if astronauts onboard the International Space Station can quickly become disorientated and suffer from space sickness.

Will You Freeze in the Vacuum of Space?

Regarding the question on whether a person would freeze in space, the answer is both yes and no, depending on the circumstances. A blank, uniform space suit or a pressurized cabin provides insulation, which can help maintain a comfortable temperature. However, if your space suit has a hole or is ripped, you would ‘almost definitely lose consciousness within a few seconds, and what would happen next is the matter of speculation,’ says Henry Nahory, an aerospace engineer.

Risk of Hypothermic Death

In the environment of space, the human body will neither freeze nor boil while spacewalking, but other effects of exposure to vacuum may occur. Though people often think that a human exposed to space would swell up inflated like a balloon before exploding, in reality, due to the lack of atmospheric pressure they would balloon only slightly, swelling to about twice their normal size before contracting in a freezing spasm. Initially, an astronaut would feel tightness in his or her chest, and within 15 seconds that would be followed by a feeling of boiling in the fluids in the mouth and lungs. If a person were to be expelled into space from a craft without a suit, the lungs would empty themselves in an attempt to equalize the pressure gradient. Within a few seconds, the deoxygenated blood would cause loss of consciousness, and death by hypoxia would follow in minutes.

Pressure Effects on the Body

In terms of pressure, the human body has an average internal pressure of 101.3 kPa (14.7 pounds per square inch). A lack of pressure when exposed to space causes the following common effects:

  • Decompression sickness – caused by a reduction in the pressurized bubbles within the body (similar to ‘the bends’ painful effect experienced by deep-sea divers).
  • Rapid hypoxia – milder forms of the condition would cause symptoms similar to motion sickness, while more severe symptoms like unconsciousness or death could be experienced.
  • Gas Expansion – due to there being no pressure, gases dissolved in the body expand – this could result in swelling and severe joint and muscle pain.


In final thoughts, our bodies were not designed to exist in space, which is why the human body is vulnerable to several effects that could lead to fatal consequences. Though space exploration remains an exciting subject, astronauts need to wear spacesuits and have a pressurized cabin to ensure their safety. It’s essential to consider the challenges and ensure that you have a basic understanding of everything that comes with a spaceflight before embarking towards any trip out there.

List of Common Questions Related to the Topic

Here is an unordered list of the most common questions and their answers related to the topic, “Would you freeze in space”:

  • Q: How cold is space?
    A: Space temperatures can fluctuate drastically – from very hot to very cold depending upon factors like the sun’s solar flare or shade. Unprotected by a space suit, a human would eventually freeze.
  • Q: Will a person’s eyes freeze in space?
    A: A person’s eyes would not freeze in space; only an unprotected human exposed to the vacuum of space would freeze eventually.
  • Q: Does exposure to space lead to an explosion?
    A: No, exposure to space does not lead to an explosion. An unprotected human being would not explode in space; only the gases trapped inside of the body outgas or decompress, which is not an explosion.
  • Q: Is it possible to survive in outer space without any protection?
    A: No, it is not possible to survive in outer space without any protection. There’s no atmosphere, radiation, pressure, or oxygen, all the prerequisites to keep humans alive.
  • Q: Will a person exposed to space freeze instantly?
    A: A person exposed to the vacuum of space would not freeze instantly because would lose heat slowly over a long period of time.


  • https://www.quora.com/What-happens-to-people-exposed-to-space-without-suits
  • https://www.healthline.com/health-news/can-you-really-freeze-in-space
  • https://www.space.com/what-happens-to-unprotected-body-in-space.html
  • https://www.nasa.gov/hrp/bodyinspace

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