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efreysson
11-19-2015, 09:49 PM
I have an astronaut stumble across a wreck that has been drifting for about fifty years, and I'm wondering about the state of the bodies. The wreck is open and exposed to the vacuum but the bodies have not been exposed to solar radiation.

Would they be dry? Frozen? Brittle? A certain colour? Mummified? Could the eyes still be intact?

Cyia
11-19-2015, 09:56 PM
They should be frozen, but mostly in tact. The idea that human bodies expand to explosive or rupture-prone proportions in space is a myth.

Is there any exposure to the ship's atmosphere or leaking gasses / fuel? Are they close to any sort of heat source, and are any of them wearing protective suits that might actually result in a localized atmospheric effect, like oxygen and normal pressure/heat?

efreysson
11-19-2015, 10:10 PM
They should be frozen, but mostly in tact. The idea that human bodies expand to explosive or rupture-prone proportions in space is a myth.

Is there any exposure to the ship's atmosphere or leaking gasses / fuel? Are they close to any sort of heat source, and are any of them wearing protective suits that might actually result in a localized atmospheric effect, like oxygen and normal pressure/heat?

No, the idea is that the ship has been completely dead for decades. And they are wearing suits, but not the helmets when disaster struck.

And thanks for responding.

Cobalt Jade
11-20-2015, 01:32 AM
I've always wondered this too. Would they be shriveled, like mummies, because all the water had been evaporated from them?

Dennis E. Taylor
11-20-2015, 01:58 AM
The water would sublimate out quickly. They'd be essentially freeze-dried. Whether the skin would be damaged or not in the process is up in the, uh, air. ;)

GeorgeK
11-20-2015, 02:55 AM
Interesting question. I think it would have to qualify as a cold arid mummification. Most of those mummies were found hundreds or thousands of years later, so in your scenario of only 50 years they should be better preserved

WeaselFire
11-22-2015, 12:31 AM
They'd look a lot like beef jerky. Really. They're basically freeze dried and, if not exposed to anything that will cause or accelerate decay, they'll stay that way a long time. Very, very few organisms even survive the cold to cause decay, and even if they survive they're inert at that temperature.

Think the Ice Man mummy found in Italy/Austria.

Jeff