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What happens if someone dies in space?

Since human space exploration began just over 60 years ago, 20 people have died.

If someone were to die in space, the procedures and considerations for handling their body and the aftermath would vary based on the circumstances and location of the death. Here’s a summary of the main points from the article:

  1. Returning the Body to Earth:
    • In the case of a death on a low-Earth-orbit mission, like aboard the International Space Station (ISS), the crew could return the body to Earth within a matter of hours or days.
    • On the Moon, the crew could return home with the body in just a few days, as NASA has detailed protocols in place for such scenarios.
  2. Death during a Mars Mission:
    • If someone were to die during a mission to Mars, where the crew cannot easily turn back, the body would likely return to Earth along with the crew at the end of the mission, which could be a couple of years later.
    • The body might be preserved in a separate chamber or specialized body bag within the spacecraft, taking advantage of the steady temperature and humidity to help with preservation.
  3. Death in Open Space:
    • If an astronaut were to step outside into space without a spacesuit, they would die almost instantly due to the loss of pressure and exposure to the vacuum. Blood and body fluids would boil.
  4. Burial and Cremation:
    • Burial on other celestial bodies like Mars isn’t a good idea, as the bacteria and organisms from the body could contaminate the environment.
    • Cremation may not be desirable due to energy constraints that surviving crew members face.
  5. Handling the Aftermath:
    • The article also emphasizes that beyond the physical aspects, dealing with death in space involves emotional and psychological considerations. Helping the crew cope with the loss and supporting grieving families back on Earth are crucial aspects.
  6. Future Colonization and Planning:
    • As humanity aims to colonize other planets, such as Mars, addressing the scenario of death in space becomes important. It will require careful planning, protocols, and ethical considerations to ensure the well-being of crews and the preservation of potential future colonies.

In summary, the handling of a person’s death in space would depend on various factors such as the mission location, the circumstances of the death, and the available technology and protocols. Space agencies and organizations are likely to continue developing strategies and plans to address these challenging scenarios as space exploration and potential colonization of other celestial bodies become more feasible.

Below is a link to a fun video that touches on the dangers of traveling to Mars. Have fun watching. Link: https://youtu.be/8yU33cguGaY

How Many People Are in Space?

A total of 10 people of different nationality, genders and ages are currently serving in space. Of these 10, 3 Russian flight engineers have been in space for exactly 932 days, making them the longest-term space employees of the community. We wish all employees a long and healthy life.

This Week in Our Art Corner

Voyager Golden Record

The Voyager Golden Records are two identical phonograph records one of each which were included aboard the two Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977.[1] The records contain sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth, and are intended for any intelligent extraterrestrial life form who may find them. The records are a time capsule. The contents of the record were selected for NASA by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan of Cornell University. The selection of content for the record took almost a year. Sagan and his associates assembled 116 images and a variety of natural sounds, such as those made by surf, wind, thunder and animals (including the songs of birds and whales). To this they added audio content to represent humanity: spoken greetings in 55 ancient and modern languages, including a greeting by Sagan’s six-year-old son, Nick; other human sounds, like footsteps and laughter (Sagan’s); the inspirational message Per aspera ad astra in Morse code; and musical selections from different cultures and eras.

Link: Voyager – What’s on the Golden Record (nasa.gov)

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