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Outer Space

Science brain teasers require understanding of the physical or biological world and the laws that govern it.


Puzzle ID:#4549
Fun:*** (2.45)
Difficulty:*** (2.16)
Submitted By:im_para_noid*****




Aliens place you in a glass sphere in outer space. The sphere is held fifteen feet away from a spaceship by a rigid steel rod. Your captors will bring you back to Earth and set you free if you can manage to get inside an open hatch in the ship's side. In the sphere, you have a deck of playing cards and a small rodent. You have no spacesuit. What is your best strategy for freedom?

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Jun 16, 2002

Surely the sub zero temperature of space would freeze the fluid in your eyes and the blood in your veins within seconds. You would be dead long before you would have the chance to explode.
Jun 18, 2002

It did not state where you were in space. It could be possible that you were near enought to the sun that you were warm, but far enough so that you don't burn.
Jun 18, 2002

I like the alien basis, also the false hopes with the rodent and cards!
Jun 19, 2002

Aliens able to build a space ship should be sentient enough to lock their hatch. And you can survive vacuum. If you exhale all of your air and shut your eyes extremely tightly before you crack the glass, you could survive. If you have a full breath, the vacuum would tear it out of you, doing severe internal damage. However, the freezing outer-space would indeed kill you... Also, that is an extremely fine range in space where the temperature near a star is enough to keep you alive but not enough to burn you. Because of how much heat is lost into space, very little heat is actually able to get far away from the star. To be close enough to a star to get that life-sustaining heat, that would mean that its gravitational pull would actually drag you in towards the star. You would either die of the vacuum, or the heat would increase to unbearable temperatures before you could stop yourself from moving towards the star.
Jun 19, 2002

I KNEW IT! I keep telling people that but they won't listen! And the giving out usless items is getting old.
Jun 21, 2002

Alright smart alecs, i bet you all forget that the Earth is suppost to have a large radiation field just above the orbits of satellites so if ure in that how you suppost to survive? Difficulty - mind boggling annoying. Popularity - omg!
Jun 21, 2002

Just because they will bring you back to earth, it doesn't mean that you are near it.
Jun 21, 2002

that would be the Van Allen Radiation Belt (i think) and isn't very harmfull if you don't spend a long time in it.
Jul 05, 2002

You will also suffocate, as the air will be forced out of your lungs immediately (more than likely your lungs will collapse) due to the extreme pressure difference. If you try to hold the air in, your lungs will explode. The temperature will either be around 1200 degrees or -2000 give or take, depending on where the sun is. Resistance is futile- death is imminent!
Jul 08, 2002

that is with the 15 seconds of useful consciousness that your air supply would be.
Sep 02, 2002

and as for you mad ade, I believe that the 15 seconds would also be the time that it would take for the fluid in your eyes and veins to freeze over also.
Sep 22, 2002

15 seconds would freeze the fluid in the viens and eyes, but after only five to ten second would be adequate to thicken and crystalise the blood enough to stop it circulating and cause irreparable damage to capillaries and other small areas of the circulatory system,such as the capillary beds, precapillary sphincters, sinous veins and arteries, venous sinuses and trabeculae partition arteries thus causing the subject to bleed to death as his body begins to thaw. Fluid freezes in stages, and your 15 seconds theory does not take this into account, the expansition of the vitreous fluid during the freezing process in the eyes would burst the sclera and limbus membranes, not to mention crystalisation of the Bacillary nerve ending and ganglion and plexiform cell layers of the retina causing perminant blindness
Sep 03, 2003

The Glass sphere would have to be fairly thick to withstand the pressures. That said, then how do you break the glass? Also i recall somewhere that the temperature that water boils varies depending on the surrounding atmosphere. eg water boils at a lower temp, at the top of mountains etc. That also said, I've read that your blood would boil well before 15 seconds.
Dec 25, 2003

Your blood will not freeze, it will boil. I watch the Discovery Channel all the time and they covered this topic on one of their space shows. The last statement is correct. Water does boil at lower pressure because it needs less energy to create bubbles that won't be crushed by the atmospheric pressure. If water is exposed to a vacuum, it will boil at temperatures near absolute zero. And this is what was explained on the show on the Discovery Channel. They said that if an astronaut's suit fail, the astronaut will die almost immediately and it will probably be the most painful death imaginable. Even if you don't die within 15 seconds, you will be experiencing the most intense pain imaginable, thus it will most likely be impossible for you to do any physical activety.
Dec 13, 2005

Ya im not sure where the 15 seconds is from...perhaps it will take that long for all the bubbles in your blood to kill you...In any case i doubt getting into the ship will do you any good if you break the sphere
(user deleted)
Mar 09, 2006

Long before we started arguing about this teaser, NASA considered what would happen if an astronaut's suit malfunctioned; to answer this, they did some experiments on animals (poor monkeys) and even on humans. What they found was that:
You would not freeze instantly, because it takes some time for heat to dissipate from your body.
Your blood would not boil, because your skin would keep it sufficiently pressurize.
Your tissues would swell a little, but this would be reversible, and you would not explode.
Thus, assuming the glass wasn't too thick for you to break, you should be able to crawl back to the ship, since you'd stay conscious for...about 15 seconds.
summed up from ask_astro/answers/970603.html
Aug 12, 2008

Fun and educational. I'm still working on an alternate solution with the rat and cards.

Folks, temperature is irrelevant. You will *not* freeze! Nor will you burn. If the solar radiation from the nearest star is enough to cook you outside of the sphere in 15 seconds, it will get you inside the sphere nearly as quickly.

And, despite what Khan said, it is not cold in space. It's a vaccuum. You'll radiate heat, but that's a very slow process.

More rapid heat loss requires surrounding matter to suck away energy via convection. That's why arctic air cools you fast. It's why freezing water, warmer than the arctic air, cools you even faster (greater density of matter). It's why an expensive thermos, designed to keep your coffee hot, uses a vaccuum liner.

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