It’s been a while because I read the NASA hands-on on space helmet procedure, but if I recall correctly, they really just have one significant rule. When you go to space, save your area helmet on.

You are watching: What happens when you take your helmet off in space

I don’t care what haunting music those beguiling space sirens are playing. It doesn’t matter if you’ve gained a serious situation of room madness, and also you’re hallucinating that you’re earlier on your Iowa farm, surrounded by your loved ones. Even if you just turned on an ancient terradeveloping machine and you’re stumbling about the surface of Mars favor an idiot. You save your helmet on.

Keep. Your. Helmet. On. Credit: NASA

Not convinced? Well then, enable me to define what happens if you decide to break that ascendancy. Without a helmet, and your very own personal Earth-prefer atmosphere surrounding you, you’ll be exposed to the difficult vacuum of area.


Within a moment, all the air will rush out of your lungs, and then you’ll autumn unaware in around 45 secs. Starved for oxygen, you’ll die of suffocation in simply a pair of minutes. Then you’ll freeze solid and also float about forever before. Just one more meat asteroid in the Solar System.

That’s the official stance on room helmet operation, but just between you and me, tbelow can be a small wiggle room. A few various other places in the Solar System where you have the right to take your helmet off for just a minute, and also maybe not die instantaneously.

Earth is obviously safe. If you’re down here on the planet, and you’re still wearing your helmet, you’re missing the whole allude of why you require a helmet in the initially location. That room helmet rule only uses to area, silly, you have the right to take it off dvery own below.


In order to make it through, the human body demands a couple of points. First, we require pressure bordering our body, and also helping to store our lungs inflated. The Earth’s setting gives that service, stacking a vast column of air dvery own on height of you.

Without enough press, the air will certainly blast out of your lungs and you’ll suffocate. Too much press and also your lungs will certainly crush and also your heart will give out.

You’re going to desire atmospheric press somewright here between .5 to 5 times the atmosphere of Planet.


If you can’t find air, then some other gas or also water will certainly do in a pinch. You can’t breathe it, yet it deserve to administer the press you’re trying to find.

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Do not take your helmet off on the Moon. Credit: NASA

If you’ve gained the push appropriate, then your following priority will be the temperature. You recognize what it’s favor to be also cold on Earth, and also hot, so usage your judgement right here. It’s too cold if you’re beginning to die of hypothermia, and also hot if you’re above 60 C for a couple of minutes.

If you really want to prosper, discover air you have the right to breathe. Ideally a nice mixture of nitrogen and oxygen. Again, right here on Earth, that column of air pushing down on you also allows you to breathe. If you swapped air for carbon dioxide or water, you’re going to have to hold your breath.


So what are some various other areas in the Solar System that you could take your helmet off for a couple of brief moments?

Your best bet is the world Venus. Not dvery own at the surconfront, wright here the temperature is hot enough to melt lead, and it’s 90 atmospheres push.

But up in the cloud tops, it’s a entirety various story. At 52.5 kilometers altitude, the temperature is around 37 C. A little stifling, however not too negative. And the air pressure is about 65% Earth’s air pressure.


Hold your breath if you’re planning on taking off your helmet within the clouds of Venus. Credit: NASA

The trouble is that this area is right in the middle of Venus’ sulphuric acid cloud layer, so you can inhale a mist of toxic acid if you tried to breathe. Not to mention the truth that Venus’ setting is carbon dioxide, which means you’ll asphyxiate if you tried to breathe it.

But assuming you had some kind of air supply to breathe, and a suit to defend you from the sulphuric acid, you can hang around, without a helmet as lengthy as you chosen.

Take that! Overly draconian NASA helmet rules.


Out on the surconfront of Titan? Good news! The surface push on Titan is 1.45 times that of Earth. You won’t require a push helmet at all, ever. You will certainly require a warming helmet, but, given that the temperature on Titan is -179 C. You can be able to take that helmet off for a brief minute, prior to your challenge freezes, but don’t take a breath, otherwise you’ll freeze your lungs.

Want another location? No difficulty. Astronomers are pretty sure there are large reservoirs of water under the surchallenge of many moons and large objects in the Solar System, from Europa to Charon.

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This artist’s principle of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede, the biggest moon in the solar mechanism, illustprices the club sandwich design of its internal oceans. You could attempt taking your helmet off while diving in them. Credit: NASA/JPL

They’re heated up via tidal interactions, and also can be dozens of kilometers thick. Drill down with the ice sheet, and then just dive right into the icy waters without a helmet. It’ll be really cold, and also you won’t be able to breathe, however you deserve to remain alive as long as you deserve to host your breath.


Did you jump out of your spacecraft and also currently you’re falling to your fatality into among the Solar System’s gas giants? That’s bad news and it won’t end well. However, there’s a tiny silver lining. As you loss with the atmosphere of Jupiter, for instance, there’ll be a moment once the temperature and push roughly complement what your body have the right to manage.

Go ahead and also take your helmet off and reap that sweet spot prior to you plunge right into the swirling hydrogen gas. Once aget, though, don’t breathe. Hold your breath, the minute will certainly last longer before you go unconscious.

And listen, if you really really should take off your helmet in the cold vacuum of space, you deserve to do it. Make certain you totally exhale so you don’t wreck your lungs. Then you’ve gained around 45 secs prior to you go unaware.


That’s enough time to jump throughout to an open up airlock, or kick that nasty xenomorph holding onto your leg right into deep area.

Even though the NASA space helmet hands-on has actually one dominion – store your helmet on – you deserve to watch tright here are a few times and places wright here you have the right to bfinish those rules without instantly dying. Use your judgement.

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I’d like to thank Mechadense for posting a comment on an previously Guide to Space YouTube video, which came to be the motivation for this episode. Thanks for doing the math Mechathick and bringing the science.