Expert explains how astronauts who died in space are buried

By Jurassic JennJun 18, 2024 20:05 PMDaily News
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How astronauts who died in space are buried
How astronauts who died in space are buried. Source: www.newsweek.com

Over the next decade, NASA plans to return humans to the Moon and possibly send them to Mars. In this regard, scientists are calculating all possible emergencies for people. However, it is possible that the astronaut will die. How will he be buried in this case?

The Daily Mail reports, "In six decades of spaceflight, a total of 20 Americans have died: 14 in the NASA shuttle tragedies of 1986 and 2003, 3 astronauts during the Soyuz 11 flight in 1971, and 14 in the Apollo 1 launch pad fire in 1967. However, no one died in space. Perhaps that is why NASA still has no established protocols for such situations."

However, many experts are thinking about ways to bury astronauts and offer their options in the event of such a tragedy.

For example, Emmanuel Urquieta, a professor of space medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, notes that space can kill you in many ways.

"The main one," he says, "is being in a vacuum with or without a damaged suit. For example, you could get hit by a micrometeorite that puts a hole in your suit and you won't be able to do anything about it."

According to him, in such a case, the astronaut has about 15 seconds before losing consciousness, after which suffocation or decompression will occur. This is because in about 10 seconds, the water in the skin and blood will evaporate, causing the body to expand and the lungs to collapse.

If the worst happens, what will happen to the body?

The professor claims that it will not freeze instantly.

According to him, in a vacuum, the only way to lose heat is through liquid evaporation or radiation, which is very slow for such a relatively cold object as the human body.

At the same time, the expert says, it will sooner or later freeze and mummify. And if left in space, it can remain in this state for millions of years.

"However," Urquieta says, "most likely, in the case of a short flight to the ISS or the Moon, the body will not be abandoned but returned to Earth.

It's different if the death occurs during a flight to Mars when the crew is millions of kilometers away from Earth. Then, experts believe, the only way out is to freeze the body and store it until they return to Earth.

At the same time, Urquieta believes that burial on Mars is unlikely to be possible due to the technical complexity and high energy costs of the procedure. In addition, there is a possibility of contamination of the planet by Earth's bacteria. In this regard, the professor says, NASA has strict instructions that prohibit such actions.

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