History Main / ExplosiveDecompression

8th Jan '16 12:09:50 PM rjd1922
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See SpaceIsCold for another way that space ''doesn't'' instantly kill you. See also ContinuousDecompression for how HollywoodScience handles ''actual'' Explosive Decompression.[[labelnote:hint]]They ''still'' get it wrong.[[/labelnote]]
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See SpaceIsCold for another way that space ''doesn't'' instantly kill you. See also ContinuousDecompression for how HollywoodScience handles ''actual'' Explosive Decompression.[[labelnote:hint]]They ''still'' usually get it wrong.[[/labelnote]]
7th Jan '16 6:16:56 PM nombretomado
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* Most of the ''SpaceQuest'' games allow killing the main character by exposure to vacuum. The effects are inconsistent depending on the humor value, but never portray it realistically. Space Quest I and III have Roger exploding like a balloon whenever this happens, along with the death screen message: "Sudden decompression sucks!" (it actually blows - it's the pressure inside pushing, rather than some suction from outside - that does it). Space Quest V and IV allow him to [[PressXToDie open the airlock doors]] on the ship/shuttle he's in, without a spacesuit. Both times, he's immediately hurled out by howling hurricane-force winds, despite the fact neither ship could possibly hold enough atmosphere for decompression to lift him off his feet and struggle for a few seconds before losing his grip.
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* Most of the ''SpaceQuest'' ''VideoGame/SpaceQuest'' games allow killing the main character by exposure to vacuum. The effects are inconsistent depending on the humor value, but never portray it realistically. Space ''VideoGame/{{Space Quest I I|The Sarien Encounter}}'' and III ''[[VideoGame/SpaceQuestIIIThePiratesOfPestulon III]]'' have Roger exploding like a balloon whenever this happens, along with the death screen message: "Sudden decompression sucks!" (it actually blows - it's the pressure inside pushing, rather than some suction from outside - that does it). Space ''VideoGame/{{Space Quest V V|The Next Mutation}}'' and IV ''[[VideoGame/SpaceQuestIVRogerWilcoAndTheTimeRippers IV]]'' allow him to [[PressXToDie open the airlock doors]] on the ship/shuttle he's in, without a spacesuit. Both times, he's immediately hurled out by howling hurricane-force winds, despite the fact neither ship could possibly hold enough atmosphere for decompression to lift him off his feet and struggle for a few seconds before losing his grip.
17th Dec '15 7:06:24 PM Misacek01
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** He seems to get away with fewer decompression injuries than he should, shrugging about 1 minute of exposure off after maybe 20 seconds back in an atmosphere, but then again he is later stated to [[spoiler:only be half human, his daddy being something "very ancient" and unknown to the Nova Empire]], so it may be his unusual genetics give him higher resilience.
23rd Nov '15 6:41:21 PM GlassSpires
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Real Life doesn't have spoilers, and the quote formatting made it more difficult to read the paragraph.
* The aforementioned [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byford_Dolphin#Diving_bell_accident Byford Dolphin]] accident is perhaps the only real case of truly Explosive Decompression. [[{{Squick}} Be warned that the results are not for the faint of heart or those with an overly graphic imagination.]] -->'''TheOtherWiki''': [[spoiler:''Subsequent investigation by forensic pathologists determined Diver 4, being exposed to the highest pressure gradient, violently exploded due to the rapid and massive expansion of internal gases. All of his thoracic and abdominal organs, and even his thoracic spine were ejected, as were all of his limbs. Simultaneously, his remains were expelled through the narrow trunk opening left by the jammed chamber door, less than 60 centimetres (24 in) in diameter. Fragments of his body were found scattered about the rig. One part was even found lying on the rig's derrick, 10 metres (30 ft) directly above the chambers.'']]
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* The aforementioned [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byford_Dolphin#Diving_bell_accident Byford Dolphin]] accident is perhaps the only real case of truly Explosive Decompression. [[{{Squick}} Be warned that the results are not for the faint of heart or those with an overly graphic imagination.]] -->'''TheOtherWiki''': [[spoiler:''Subsequent ]] TheOtherWiki states: "Subsequent investigation by forensic pathologists determined Diver 4, being exposed to the highest pressure gradient, violently exploded due to the rapid and massive expansion of internal gases. All of his thoracic and abdominal organs, and even his thoracic spine were ejected, as were all of his limbs. Simultaneously, his remains were expelled through the narrow trunk opening left by the jammed chamber door, less than 60 centimetres (24 in) in diameter. Fragments of his body were found scattered about the rig. One part was even found lying on the rig's derrick, 10 metres (30 ft) directly above the chambers.'']]"
20th Oct '15 7:25:37 AM MechWarrior
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* ''{{Transformers}}: The Reign of Starscream'' #2 shows Starscream capturing a human and then putting him in his cockpit for the return trip to Cybertron. Since Cybertronians don't breathe and don't need pilots, they don't pressurize their altmodes' operators' spaces. The poor human pops when Starscream leaves the atmosphere.
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* ''{{Transformers}}: ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}: The Reign of Starscream'' #2 shows Starscream capturing a human and then putting him in his cockpit for the return trip to Cybertron. Since Cybertronians don't breathe and don't need pilots, they don't pressurize their altmodes' operators' spaces. The poor human pops when Starscream leaves the atmosphere.

* An issue of ''JusticeLeagueOfAmerica'' showed Batman deliberately exposing himself to the hard vacuum of space (while in a controlled chamber in the JLA's base on the moon), exploring his physical endurance limits, or else preparing himself for the eventuality of it actually happening one day (with Batman, either is likely). The artwork was realistic in showing the effects the vacuum was having on his physical body, but he still lasted a lot longer than a normal human would've, even one in the peak of physical condition. * Narrowly averted in ''Legends of ZitaTheSpacegirl''. [[spoiler:Zita]] is in a flimsy glass escape capsule, which inconveniently loses its method of propulsion and cracks up, leaving [[spoiler:her]] afloat in space. The character is rescued by a conveniently-arranged DeusExMachina, but is shown holding [[spoiler:her]] breath beforehand. According to ArthurCClarke that's not the wisest thing to do in that situation.
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* An issue of ''JusticeLeagueOfAmerica'' ''Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica'' showed Batman deliberately exposing himself to the hard vacuum of space (while in a controlled chamber in the JLA's base on the moon), exploring his physical endurance limits, or else preparing himself for the eventuality of it actually happening one day (with Batman, either is likely). The artwork was realistic in showing the effects the vacuum was having on his physical body, but he still lasted a lot longer than a normal human would've, even one in the peak of physical condition. * Narrowly averted in ''Legends of ZitaTheSpacegirl''.Webcomic/ZitaTheSpacegirl''. [[spoiler:Zita]] is in a flimsy glass escape capsule, which inconveniently loses its method of propulsion and cracks up, leaving [[spoiler:her]] afloat in space. The character is rescued by a conveniently-arranged DeusExMachina, but is shown holding [[spoiler:her]] breath beforehand. According to ArthurCClarke Creator/ArthurCClarke that's not the wisest thing to do in that situation.

* Averted in ''WesternAnimation/TitanAE'', in which during a SugarWiki/CrowningMomentOfAwesome, Corso and Cale escape from a smashed escape pod by using a fire extinguisher to propel themselves through space to the safety of Corso's ship. Corso ''specifically'' instructs Cale to exhale before leaving the pod. The writing staff [[ShownTheirWork did their homework]] on this one.
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* Averted in ''WesternAnimation/TitanAE'', in which during a SugarWiki/CrowningMomentOfAwesome, SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome, Corso and Cale escape from a smashed escape pod by using a fire extinguisher to propel themselves through space to the safety of Corso's ship. Corso ''specifically'' instructs Cale to exhale before leaving the pod. The writing staff [[ShownTheirWork did their homework]] on this one.

* Partially averted in ''Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey''. When Dave Bowman has to reenter his ship through the airlock he realizes that he has left behind his spacesuit's helmet. After blowing himself out of his pod into the open airlock he has several seconds of workable consciousness until he can throw a valve to pressurize the airlock again. He apparently suffers no ill effects, though it appears that he attempted to force all possible air out of his lungs.[[note]]For what it's worth, ArthurCClarke said if he were on the set when that scene was filmed, he would've corrected the error.[[/note]]
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* Partially averted in ''Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey''. When Dave Bowman has to reenter his ship through the airlock he realizes that he has left behind his spacesuit's helmet. After blowing himself out of his pod into the open airlock he has several seconds of workable consciousness until he can throw a valve to pressurize the airlock again. He apparently suffers no ill effects, though it appears that he attempted to force all possible air out of his lungs.[[note]]For what it's worth, ArthurCClarke Creator/ArthurCClarke said if he were on the set when that scene was filmed, he would've corrected the error.[[/note]]

* Averted in ''Film/DangerDiabolik''. Mob boss Valmont shoots his gun inside his tiny jetliner, putting a good sized hole in it. One of his {{mook}}s casually takes his gum and covers it up.
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* Averted in ''Film/DangerDiabolik''. Mob boss Valmont shoots his gun inside his tiny jetliner, putting a good sized hole in it. One of his {{mook}}s Mooks casually takes his gum and covers it up.

* It doesn't actually happen in the ''XWingSeries'', but after the bridge of his capital ship is breached, General Solo reflects that if the crew can't get into a pressurized area before the bridge is sealed off, they're going to experience the "joys of explosive decompression". To be fair, he might not actually know how people in space die.
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* It doesn't actually happen in the ''XWingSeries'', ''ComicBook/XWingSeries'', but after the bridge of his capital ship is breached, General Solo reflects that if the crew can't get into a pressurized area before the bridge is sealed off, they're going to experience the "joys of explosive decompression". To be fair, he might not actually know how people in space die.

* In ''{{Chindi}}'', a poor pilot's lungs explode instantly after his ship's hull is breached.
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* In ''{{Chindi}}'', ''Literature/{{Chindi}}'', a poor pilot's lungs explode instantly after his ship's hull is breached.

* ''OneThousandWaysToDie'' reenacted a (probable) RealLife example [[note]](likely the Byford Dolphin incident)[[/note]] where someone accidentally opened a decompression chamber with a scuba diver inside. The chamber went from several atmospheres to one in a split second, and the unfortunate occupant [[LudicrousGibs exploded all over the walls.]]
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* ''OneThousandWaysToDie'' ''Series/OneThousandWaysToDie'' reenacted a (probable) RealLife example [[note]](likely the Byford Dolphin incident)[[/note]] where someone accidentally opened a decompression chamber with a scuba diver inside. The chamber went from several atmospheres to one in a split second, and the unfortunate occupant [[LudicrousGibs exploded all over the walls.]]

** ''Enterprise'' displays a notable exception to this rule in the fourth season (after playing it straight in the first season, with the same chracter no less) when Archer is briefly exposed and spends the rest of the episode struggling to walk and breathe, with his eyes completely bloodshot.
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** ''Enterprise'' displays a notable exception to this rule in the fourth season (after playing it straight in the first season, with the same chracter character no less) when Archer is briefly exposed and spends the rest of the episode struggling to walk and breathe, with his eyes completely bloodshot.

** Averted in "The Impossible Planet"; Scootie is launched into space (by Satan, sort of) when the section of the base she's in gets shattered, and her body is still completely intact; though a) this is a family friendly show, so there was never going to be anything too gruesome, and b) her corpse is getting pulled into a Black Hole (hence the episode title, as said planet mantains a steady orbit around said Black Hole), so will likely result in 'Implosive Compression' before long.
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** Averted in "The Impossible Planet"; Scootie is launched into space (by Satan, sort of) when the section of the base she's in gets shattered, and her body is still completely intact; though a) this is a family friendly show, so there was never going to be anything too gruesome, and b) her corpse is getting pulled into a Black Hole (hence the episode title, as said planet mantains maintains a steady orbit around said Black Hole), so will likely result in 'Implosive Compression' before long.

* Naturally, ''ThePerryBibleFellowship'' has its own sick [[http://www.pbfcomics.com/?cid=PBF022-Space_Helmet.jpg contribution]] to the topic. * Averted in [[http://www.darklegacycomics.com/328.html this]] ''DarkLegacyComics'' strip.
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* Naturally, ''ThePerryBibleFellowship'' ''ComicStrip/ThePerryBibleFellowship'' has its own sick [[http://www.pbfcomics.com/?cid=PBF022-Space_Helmet.jpg contribution]] to the topic. * Averted in [[http://www.darklegacycomics.com/328.html this]] ''DarkLegacyComics'' ''Webcomic/DarkLegacyComics'' strip.

* WorldWarII crimes against humanity ** The Nazis carried out scientific explosive decompression experiments in the death camps, with a view to working out survival techniques for submariners at great depths, or for aircraft crews in planes that were going ever higher and higher and subjected to diminishing air pressure. Unlucky and dispensible test subjects were placed in atmospheric chambers and subjected either to massively increased atmospheric pressure, or to the sort of atmospheric pressure to be found in deep space. Quite often they were used to test prototype high-altitude flightsuits and survival systems, and most of the conclusions drawn above were in fact scientifically proven by a regime that viewed some people as expendable lab-rats. While nobody wants to admit it, this Nazi research was in fact vital to post-war America and Britain, who reaped the benefits of Nazi science for their own military use whilst keeping their hands clean and staying morally spotless.
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* WorldWarII UsefulNotes/WorldWarII crimes against humanity ** The Nazis carried out scientific explosive decompression experiments in the death camps, with a view to working out survival techniques for submariners at great depths, or for aircraft crews in planes that were going ever higher and higher and subjected to diminishing air pressure. Unlucky and dispensible dispensable test subjects were placed in atmospheric chambers and subjected either to massively increased atmospheric pressure, or to the sort of atmospheric pressure to be found in deep space. Quite often they were used to test prototype high-altitude flightsuits and survival systems, and most of the conclusions drawn above were in fact scientifically proven by a regime that viewed some people as expendable lab-rats. While nobody wants to admit it, this Nazi research was in fact vital to post-war America and Britain, who reaped the benefits of Nazi science for their own military use whilst keeping their hands clean and staying morally spotless.
18th Oct '15 2:02:24 PM StFan
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* In ''ScudTheDisposableAssassin,'' [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot The evil British Shakespearean actor astronaut werewolf]] undergoes this trope while in a stable orbit over earth. Since he is immortal, his body instantly reconstitutes itself only to explode again...and again, and again ad infinitum.
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* In ''ScudTheDisposableAssassin,'' ''ComicBook/ScudTheDisposableAssassin,'' [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot The evil British Shakespearean actor astronaut werewolf]] undergoes this trope while in a stable orbit over earth. Since he is immortal, his body instantly reconstitutes itself only to explode again...and again, and again ad infinitum.

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
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[[folder:Fan Fiction]]Works]]
16th Oct '15 9:36:38 AM Kitch
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** In a different episode, he's put in a vacuum chamber where all the air is sucked out, and he's shown struggling to breathe. Though SpaceIsNoisy is invoked, as he's able to say how difficult it is to breathe in the chamber.
2nd Oct '15 5:14:33 AM KarmaTiger
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A '''really''' unlucky character might suffer FoldSpindleMutilation as they're sucked into space, ''then'' undergo ExplosiveDecompression.
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A '''really''' unlucky character might suffer FoldSpindleMutilation as they're sucked blown into space, ''then'' undergo ExplosiveDecompression.

* Used in a different fashion to the usual in the film ''Film/AlienResurrection'', where the Newborn is killed by using acidic blood to melt a relatively small hole in the viewing port behind it; the pressure first pins the xenomorph/human hybrid against the wall, and then the continued pressure difference... well, it [[FoldSpindleMutilation sucks the Newborn through the hole]]... over a relatively long time-period, while the vacuum from a relatively small hole seems to hold him pinned to it (despite that in the prior film ''Aliens,'' Ripley is able to avoid being sucked into space just by locking her arm on a ladder-rung, and actually climb out). * Averted in ''Film/{{Gravity}}''. [[spoiler:Ryan is startled to see a NotQuiteDead Kowalski outside the Soyuz hatch, which he opens even though she's not wearing her helmet, sucking out all the air but leaving her unharmed once he closes the hatch and raises the oxygen levels. Turns out it's AllJustADream anyway.]]
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* Used in a different fashion to the usual in the film ''Film/AlienResurrection'', where the Newborn is killed by using acidic blood to melt a relatively small hole in the viewing port behind it; the pressure first pins the xenomorph/human hybrid against the wall, and then the continued pressure difference... well, it [[FoldSpindleMutilation sucks blows the Newborn through the hole]]... over a relatively long time-period, while the vacuum from a relatively small hole seems to hold him pinned to it (despite that in the prior film ''Aliens,'' Ripley is able to avoid being sucked blown into space just by locking her arm on a ladder-rung, and actually climb out). * Averted in ''Film/{{Gravity}}''. [[spoiler:Ryan is startled to see a NotQuiteDead Kowalski outside the Soyuz hatch, which he opens even though she's not wearing her helmet, sucking blowing out all the air but leaving her unharmed once he closes the hatch and raises the oxygen levels. Turns out it's AllJustADream anyway.]]

* An episode of ''SpacePrecinct'' had an alien with [[BloodyMurder acid blood]]. When shot its green blood dissolved through the hull causing the corpse to be sucked out into space. A few seconds later it inflates and bursts.
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* An episode of ''SpacePrecinct'' had an alien with [[BloodyMurder acid blood]]. When shot its green blood dissolved through the hull causing the corpse to be sucked blown out into space. A few seconds later it inflates and bursts.

** Averted in "The Impossible Planet"; Scootie is launched into space (by Satan, sort of) when the section of the base she's in gets shattered, and her body is still completely intact; though a) this is a family friendly show, so there was never going to be anything too gruesome, and b) her corpse is getting sucked into a Black Hole (hence the episode title, as said planet mantains a steady orbit around said Black Hole), so will likely result in 'Implosive Compression' before long.
to:
** Averted in "The Impossible Planet"; Scootie is launched into space (by Satan, sort of) when the section of the base she's in gets shattered, and her body is still completely intact; though a) this is a family friendly show, so there was never going to be anything too gruesome, and b) her corpse is getting sucked pulled into a Black Hole (hence the episode title, as said planet mantains a steady orbit around said Black Hole), so will likely result in 'Implosive Compression' before long.

* Most of the ''SpaceQuest'' games allow killing the main character by exposure to vacuum. The effects are inconsistent depending on the humor value, but never portray it realistically. Space Quest I and III have Roger exploding like a balloon whenever this happens, along with the death screen message: "Sudden decompression sucks!" Space Quest V and IV allow him to [[PressXToDie open the airlock doors]] on the ship/shuttle he's in, without a spacesuit. Both times, he's immediately hurled out by howling hurricane-force winds, despite the fact neither ship could possibly hold enough atmosphere for decompression to lift him off his feet and struggle for a few seconds before losing his grip.
to:
* Most of the ''SpaceQuest'' games allow killing the main character by exposure to vacuum. The effects are inconsistent depending on the humor value, but never portray it realistically. Space Quest I and III have Roger exploding like a balloon whenever this happens, along with the death screen message: "Sudden decompression sucks!" (it actually blows - it's the pressure inside pushing, rather than some suction from outside - that does it). Space Quest V and IV allow him to [[PressXToDie open the airlock doors]] on the ship/shuttle he's in, without a spacesuit. Both times, he's immediately hurled out by howling hurricane-force winds, despite the fact neither ship could possibly hold enough atmosphere for decompression to lift him off his feet and struggle for a few seconds before losing his grip.

* There is a myth that has been circling the US military for several years about a sabot round fired from an Abrams tank into an M113 APC with a sheep inside, creating an explosive decompression that sucked the sheep through the exit hole but left the vehicle mostly intact. It is most likely a fabrication produced by the Army's rumor mill, as a sabot round uses spall from the armor it displaces to destroy its target, and the targets are anything but intact afterwards.
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* There is a myth that has been circling the US military for several years about a sabot round fired from an Abrams tank into an M113 APC with a sheep inside, creating an explosive decompression that sucked blew the sheep through the exit hole but left the vehicle mostly intact. It is most likely a fabrication produced by the Army's rumor mill, as a sabot round uses spall from the armor it displaces to destroy its target, and the targets are anything but intact afterwards.

-->"The crew was pretty calm about it. They walked around and checked on everyone," he said. '''"But it wasn't like the movies where papers get sucked out of the hole, but you could feel it and hear the noise."''' * The crew of the spacecraft Soyuz 11 were killed when the ship's cabin depressurized during reentry. A valve was jolted open during the jettison of the service module, causing the cabin's atmosphere to be gradually sucked into space.[[note]]The Russians didn't have their crews wear pressurized space suits at this time. They'd stopped a while back and only started it again after the incident.[[/note]] Their fates were not known until the craft landed; [[ReentryScare the ground crew lost contact before the fatal incident, which happens normally]]. CPR was attempted by support crews on the dead cosmonauts to no avail. As noted above, the three cosmonauts--Georgi Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov, and Viktor Patsayev--are the only deaths to occur during spaceflight that were a direct result of decompression; technically, they're the only three humans ever to die ''in'' space. With relation to the trope, footage of the aftermath shows their bodies to be relatively intact after roughly half an hour exposed to a vacuum.
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-->"The crew was pretty calm about it. They walked around and checked on everyone," he said. '''"But it wasn't like the movies where papers get sucked blown out of the hole, but you could feel it and hear the noise."''' * The crew of the spacecraft Soyuz 11 were killed when the ship's cabin depressurized during reentry. A valve was jolted open during the jettison of the service module, causing the cabin's atmosphere to be gradually sucked blown into space.[[note]]The Russians didn't have their crews wear pressurized space suits at this time. They'd stopped a while back and only started it again after the incident.[[/note]] Their fates were not known until the craft landed; [[ReentryScare the ground crew lost contact before the fatal incident, which happens normally]]. CPR was attempted by support crews on the dead cosmonauts to no avail. As noted above, the three cosmonauts--Georgi Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov, and Viktor Patsayev--are the only deaths to occur during spaceflight that were a direct result of decompression; technically, they're the only three humans ever to die ''in'' space. With relation to the trope, footage of the aftermath shows their bodies to be relatively intact after roughly half an hour exposed to a vacuum.
26th Sep '15 9:16:16 PM Sharlee
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* Used in a different fashion to the usual in the film ''Film/AlienResurrection'', where the Newborn is killed by using acidic blood to melt a relatively small hole in the viewing port behind it; the pressure first pins the xenomorph/human hybrid against the wall, and then the continued pressure difference... well, it sucks the Newborn through the hole... over a relatively long time-period, while the vacuum from a relatively small hole seems to hold him pinned to it (despite that in the prior film ''Aliens,'' Ripley is able to avoid being sucked into space just by locking her arm on a ladder-rung, and actually climb out).
to:
* Used in a different fashion to the usual in the film ''Film/AlienResurrection'', where the Newborn is killed by using acidic blood to melt a relatively small hole in the viewing port behind it; the pressure first pins the xenomorph/human hybrid against the wall, and then the continued pressure difference... well, it [[FoldSpindleMutilation sucks the Newborn through the hole...hole]]... over a relatively long time-period, while the vacuum from a relatively small hole seems to hold him pinned to it (despite that in the prior film ''Aliens,'' Ripley is able to avoid being sucked into space just by locking her arm on a ladder-rung, and actually climb out).
26th Sep '15 9:13:17 PM Sharlee
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Added DiffLines:
A '''really''' unlucky character might suffer FoldSpindleMutilation as they're sucked into space, ''then'' undergo ExplosiveDecompression.
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