Why will people get sucked out to space when a door is open in a spaceship?

Patience Farrell asked a question: Why will people get sucked out to space when a door is open in a spaceship?
Asked By: Patience Farrell
Date created: Thu, May 6, 2021 10:37 PM

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People “Could” get sucked out a spacecraft if you somehow defeated the Airlock (TWO doors, not one) or had large hole from laser or space debris hit/weapon. Depends on where you are standing or sitting or essentially located, relative to the leak point, size of leak point, etc. It is all about the “force balance” of pressure..

The air "Pushes" itself out, it doesn't really get "Blown" out. Same for the people. While there will be a force associated with the moving air blowing on them, there is a much much BIGGER force associated with the pressure gradient. So I think that Data is also wrong. They were "Pushed" out by the sudden, transient pressure gradient.

Imagine being in a spaceship's pressurized airlock when the outside door is suddenly opened. You'd be sucked out into space, right? Not quite. As Commander Data explained in an episode of Star Trek, the air gets blown out of the airlock, not sucked (3). The physics is the same as on Earth, but the difference is gravity.

There’s no pressure in space, so air expands and would painfully tear through the tissue of your lungs as this happened. So in the event that you are sucked out of a space ship or pushed out of an airlock without a spacesuit, it’s a better idea to exhale has much as possible, rather than take one final gulp of air.

In the opening moments of J.J. Abram’s Star Trek, the Kelvin is attacked, opening its hallways up to space, and one hapless crew member gets sucked out into space.

An odd bit of Hollywood Science regarding getting Thrown Out the Airlock is that it always causes the victim to be violently "sucked" out into space (actually blown, as it's the atmospheric gasses leaving under pressure that pushes objects out, like how air blows out of a punctured tire from the pressure inside rather than sucked out by the lower pressure outside the tire).

We’ve all seen it in sci-fi movies: Someone gets sucked out of a spaceship and thrown into the emptiness of space. Not surprisingly, many movies get it wrong. But the reality of a human exposed to the vacuum of space may be weirder and more bizarre than you ever imagined. 10 The Vacuum Of Space

Air, in fact, attempts to expand to fill the container it is placed in. If there is no walls to the container, like on a planet, it will only be stopped by gravity. When the airlock is unsafely open or a hole is made in a spaceship, the air inside attempts to fill the void of space.

What actually happens is that the pressure of the surrounding air pushes the gases into the void. If you think of the example of a plane, if the doors is opened mid-flight the cabin depressurises and masks fall from above the seat.

A 1 m 2 hole with a 15 psi pressure difference yields 23000 pounds-force which would in turn accelerate a 1 m 2 person at 1km/s 2 for a short time.. If we say that a person is 1 foot wide, they'll accelerate to about 25m/s in the time that they're in the hole. This only holds true if the person takes up the entire hole and there aren't any gaps for air to go around them - seems a bit unrealistic.

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