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->''"Ah, Kirk, my old friend, do you know the old Klingon proverb that tells us revenge is a dish that is best served cold? It is very cold... in space."''
-->-- '''Khan Noonien Singh''', ''Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan''

An inversion of ConvectionSchmonvection, Space Is Cold is the widely held misconception that space is in itself "cold." We hear SpeculativeFiction writers talk about "the cold depths of space" or "the freezing void." If you get [[ThrownOutTheAirlock thrown into space]], you're going to freeze straight away, assuming you don't [[ExplosiveDecompression explode]].

Actually, SpaceDoesNotWorkThatWay. In brief, there are two reasons why. But before we explore them, let's recap what "freezing" actually means. In short, the process of freezing means "heat leaves you". There are two ways heat can leave you: 1) convection/conduction and 2) radiation.

* Convection and conduction is simply touching an object, or liquid, or gas. If that which you touch has a lower temperature than you, your heat flows out of you, leaving you colder.
* Radiation means that you are radiating energy... or simply put: you are glowing. You are essentially a giant infrared light bulb. The thing that powers this light bulb is your heat. Unless your heat is replenished by convection/conduction, energy from food or incoming radiation...your heat will run out and you will become colder.

So why isn't space cold?

The first reason is that temperature and heat are physical properties of matter. Space is the exact opposite of matter. Space is the absence of all matter. Asking "what is the temperature of space?" is like asking a bald person what their hair color is.[[note]]Technically, space is not completely empty; [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstellar_medium the interstellar medium can actually reach a density of about one million molecules per cubic centimeter, and even in its least dense areas it still has about 100 ions per cubic meter]], and you can find the temperature of the few atoms present. The Local Interstellar Cloud we're in has an average temperature of around 6000K, comparable to the surface of the sun, but since there are so few atoms (about 0.3 per cubic centimeter), it doesn't really matter. And a bald person may still have body hair.[[/note]] This means you cannot touch space because there is nothing to touch in the first place. This in turn means heat loss by convection or conduction cannot happen in space. (Touching the surface of your spacecraft, however, can be a whole different story). This is how a thermos works, by the way; there is a near-vacuum surrounding the storage space, preventing heat from passing through.

The second reason is that radiating heat is a slow process, especially if you are in a space suit. Space suits are made to be cold (or hot for that matter) on the surface, meaning that as soon as the surface of a space suit turns cold, it radiates a lot less energy. And more important, depending on where you are in space, you can have incoming radiation that balances out -- or overcomes -- your heat loss.

In other words, if you are too close to the Sun (or any other star) you will not freeze when exposed to space; you will either be kind of cozy, or you might burn.

Where is the comfort zone? Suppose you put on your swimming trunks, don a fishbowl style helmet, and go outside your spacecraft for some tanning... what would happen?
* Inside the orbit of Venus, you'd bake to death fairly quickly- but still not instantaneously, mind you. Even at Mercury's closest solar approach, equatorial surface temperatures top out around 700°K (~800°F)- this is only a third the temperature of your typical charcoal fire. Like putting your hand on a grill, it'd be harmful but survivable for brief exposures.
* In Earth orbit you'd slowly work your way up to a heat stroke, and then die. You'd get a severe sunburn in just a few minutes since the effective intensity of the Sun when outside the atmosphere is about 1.5 to 3 times as strong as on the surface of (most of) the Earth on a hot, sunny day. In about half an hour you'd have second degree burns on most of your body exposed to the Sun. If the bends don't get you, you will eventually die from overheating.
* At the orbit of Mars or beyond, you'd freeze, but rather slowly. Even in the outer solar system, you'd be slightly more concerned about running out of air or contracting the bends than freezing to death.

As for spaceships becoming incredibly cold when left without power, the real trouble with spaceships is getting ''rid'' of all the heat they produce, so that the engines don't cook the crew to death. Indeed, spaceships are designed to radiate heat as much as possible, and have heaters that kick on when their electronics aren't running or they pass into the shadow of a world. That's why everything was cold in Apollo 13- all the 60's era electronics that doubled as space heaters were turned off to save power[[note]]Generating heat is much easier than generating cold, which is why spaceships are designed to be slightly in the negative in their heat generation without the heaters running to compensate[[/note]].

For more information, visit the [[Analysis/SpaceIsCold analysis page]].

Nonetheless, "cold space" is a near-universal trope in SpeculativeFiction, to the point that [[RealityIsUnrealistic aversions are met with disbelief]].



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* An especially obvious example occurs in the ''Anime/SuperDimensionFortressMacross'' episode "Space-Fold", in which, after being launched into space, South Ataria Island, and the ocean around it, freezes over, ''The Day After Tomorrow''-style. The fact that this was due to a hyperdrive accident may excuse the wonky physics, but it's clearly meant to invoke this trope. Later averted when a character is exposed to space for several minutes without ill effects.
** Of course, this was also present in [[{{Anime/Robotech}} the English version of the series]]; the ''Robotech'' novelization of the scene drew attention to the fact it didn't make sense, and credited the enigmatic shapings of Protoculture with causing the unusual effect.
* At the end of the second part of ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure'', the literally indestructible Cars is defeated by launching him into space. He tries to get back by venting his body's stored air to send him back to earth... but the water vapor freezes, sealing off the holes he uses to vent, and he ends up [[AndIMustScream drifting through space for eternity until his mind shuts off, effectively killing him]].
* Zigzagged in ''Anime/ValvraveTheLiberator''. The Valvraves' operational time is limited by how long it takes them to overheat, and in vacuum the mechs are shown to have severe difficulty venting all that heat. However, in another episode, some water vented into space immediately turns into ice crystals (and is used to cool the Valvraves), rather than vaporizing as would actually happen.
* Averted in ''Anime/StarshipOperators''. While normally ships aren't worried about their own heat generation, it's certainly possible for external source to induce heat into a ship at far faster rate than the ship can radiate out. In fact, several ships have been killed by overheating them with repeated laser fire.

[[folder:Comic books]]
* In the ''ComicBook/IronMan'' miniseries '' Bad blood'', bad guy Justin Hammer ends up being flushed into outer space together with the contents of a swimming pool; it ''instantly'' freezes around him, leaving us with the sight of a bewildered, frozen old man inside a block of ice. The story goes on to claim he is in suspended animation and might (ironically, in context) live forever.
* In an issue of ComicBook/MarvelStarWars, the ''Millennium Falcon'' is trying to escape from Darth Vader in his personal fighter, and having trouble. So they make a tight turn around a large ship to temporarily block his view, and jettison the water supply of the ''Falcon'', which instantly freezes into several large blocks of ice, and Vader crashes into them when he comes around the "corner" at high speed. In reality, the water would ''boil'' due to the lack of pressure, and dissipate into a harmless gas cloud.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Averted in "Fanfic/ShakedownShenanigans". A bottle of Bajoran springwine is used in the christening ceremony for the USS ''Bajor'', and flash-boils after breaking against the hull.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TitanAE'' averts this trope when Korso kicks through the canopy of a damaged craft, propelling himself and Cale to safety with a fire extinguisher. Even with their eyes open, nothing freezes.
* In the climax of ''WesternAnimation/SupermanBatmanApocalypse'', [[spoiler:Darkseid is launched into the vacuum of space by Boom Tube and immediately freezes solid.]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/AustinPowers: The Spy Who Shagged Me'', Doctor Evil is worried that Mini-Me may have caught a cold from being out in the 'cold of space' (Mini-Me was otherwise absolutely fine, even after [[RuleOfFunny spinning off into space for at least several hours]]).
* The RealityIsUnrealistic aspect is demonstrated by all the people who think they found a huge plot hole in the live-action ''Film/{{Transformers}}'' movie, where Megatron freezes upon crash-landing in the arctic, and Cybertronians are stated to be weakened by freezing temperatures, but of course can manage space just fine (they're also expecting ElementalBaggage, incidentally); an example features in [[http://www.lilformers.com/blog/2007/11/05/11052007/ this comic]].
* ''Film/{{Sunshine}}'' also carried this trope to an extreme; when performing a dangerous jump across space from one spaceship to another, crew members wrapped themselves in the ship's insulation. All were shivering and one had developed frostbite from the time in space (which appeared to be thirty seconds, at most). There was also a guy whose [[LiterallyShatteredLives body shattered]] when he struck a part of the ship. Made even sillier since they don't follow their own Movie Physics: The crew states that space is -272 degrees Celsius, just above absolute zero. If space really was that cold and it had enough particles to freeze a bare person so quickly, a few sheets of insulation aren't going to protect you from instantaneously turning into a block of ice when they blow the airlock. Keep in mind the actual temperature of space could easily be 3 kelvins, or -270 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, as the ship had been heading straight towards the sun for a good while, they should have been burning, not freezing.
* In ''Film/{{Gravity}}'', space debris punches a hole in the space shuttle. The shuttle crew freezes solid instantly. In reality, it would take hours for them to freeze.
* In the space film ''Film/MissionToMars'', Tim Robbins plays an astronaut who finds out at one point during the film (an escape sequence) that he is drifting off into space, and voluntarily elects to remove his helmet (to avoid smashing into Mars at terminal velocity, and to prevent his wife from mounting a futile rescue attempt). The moment he removes his helmet, his face instantaneously freezes (we see from behind his head) and he goes floating away, dead.
* Averted in ''Film/{{Avatar}}'' -- if you pay close attention as the ship arrives, you'll see heat sinks glowing red hot. It is also mentioned in the background that the first ISV, needing to use cold superconductors, was over 3 times the size due to the extra thermal load of the cooling systems for the engines, requiring much larger radiators.
* In a story explaining the making of ''Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey'', Creator/ArthurCClarke notes that the ''Discovery One'' spaceship should have had large radiating surfaces to dissipate the heat from the reactors powering it. They were not put in because they didn't want to have to spend the time explaining why a ship that never enters an atmosphere has "wings".
* Probably the first-ever appearance of this was in the 1954 SF movie ''Riders to the Stars'', in which this happens to one of the eponymous astronauts. He drifts for a moment right in front of the camera view, so that you can see that he's been turned into an Instant Mummy. Unlike most of these examples, the writers have an excuse; [[ScienceMarchesOn empirical evidence on the effects of the vacuum of space on the human body was rather lacking back then.]]
* Averted in ''Film/IronSky'': Washington and Renate survive without any protective gear (and in Renate's case, very little clothing) even when Washington accidentally opens the airlock for a minute.
* Great example in the 2012 film ''Film/{{Lockout}}'' when, after being reminded of how cold out is in space, the warden is placed in an airlock and the outer door opened -- his entire body freezes in about one second.
* ''Film/TheBlackHole'': A passing meteorite knocks a hole in the dome of a hydroponics bay. In an instant, everything and everyone is covered with a layer of frost.

* In ''Literature/HaloTheColeProtocol'', [[ManipulativeBastard Peter Bonifacio]] ends up trapped in an escape capsule in space and contemplates whether he'll asphyxiate or die of hypothermia when the electricity, and therefore heat, run out. Possibly TruthInTelevision (Literature?) given that it's not stated how long the air supply in the capsule is good for and it likely would get quite cold within a few days of the heaters shutting off, if that long.
* ''Literature/TheCulture''
** ''Literature/{{Excession}}'', by [[Creator/IainBanks Iain M. Banks]], has a particularly bad example: Upon being Thrown Out the Airlock, a character's eyes and mouth freeze (which is realistic), followed instantly by a description of his ''brain'' freezing over in a matter of seconds.
** By the time he wrote ''Literature/SurfaceDetail'', Banks had apparently learned from fans who wrote in about that. A character's ship dies and she contemplates the irony of how her body will probably be recovered frozen solid after several weeks even though she's actually going to die of heatstroke.
* In ''Literature/HaveSpaceSuitWillTravel'', Creator/RobertAHeinlein very carefully averts this trope, and explains why it needs averting.
* In Joe Haldeman's ''ForeverWar'', it is also carefully averted: The PoweredArmor used by the military on frigid planets around dead stars actually requires radiators to boil away the heat and keeping most of the suit's outside cool enough not to boil the solid hydrogen or methane they are standing on; If a radiator malfunctions, the human inside runs risk of dying of the ''heat'' in the vacuum of space.
* In Creator/CSLewis's ''Literature/OutOfTheSilentPlanet'', all space travel is in the inner solar system (from Earth to Mars and back), so the sun is relatively near to Weston's spaceship, always visible, and makes things very hot within the ship. When Ransom comments, "I always thought space was dark and cold," he is met with scorn for his naivete. "Forgot about the Sun, did you?"
* In Creator/JohnRingo's ''Literature/IntoTheLookingGlass'' series, the Alliance Space Ship ''Vorpal Blade'' comes complete with a very long extendable heat exchanger, specifically due to how the lack of convection will eventually overheat the ship. Combat is often limited by the heat. The ship also has to stop every so often while just traveling around in order to "chill out" (as the procedure becomes known on the ship).
* ''[[Literature/DragonridersOfPern All The Weyrs Of Pern]]'' has dragons [[AC:[[RecycledInSpace In Space]]]] with their riders, having to work on the spaceships quickly before they freeze to death. However, it's actually a very nice aversion. Dragons can survive without air for about 15 minutes. The temperature problem comes from the spaceships having been powered down for 2500 years, plenty of time for them to reach equilibrium with the environment, and the dragons are equipped with special gloves to insulate their paws.
* In Creator/JamesSwallow's TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} ''[[Literature/BloodAngels Deus Sanguinius]]'', when Rafen gets to the spaceship on the outside of a shuttle, he, despite his gear having its vacuum seals intact, suffers from the "incredible cold" and is stiff afterward.
* In Creator/CJCherryh's ''Literature/ChanurNovels'', it is mentioned that the cargo hold is really cold because they only turn the heating on when they're actually working inside. This might be accurate, though, as the amount of time they spend between stations is indeterminate due to time dilation.
* ''Literature/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy1'' averts this. It says that if you hold a lungful of air, you can survive for up to 30 seconds. [[spoiler:Which, luckily for Ford and Arthur, is all that they needed.]] A lungful of air, on the other hand, might have led to ExplosiveDecompression; this is amended in [[VideoGame/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy the computer game]], where it's changed to hyperventilating and emptying your lungs.
* "[[Literature/KnownSpace Wait It Out]]" by Creator/LarryNiven has an astronaut trapped on Pluto. He decides to strip naked in vacuum and freeze as fast as possible, hoping to avoid frostbite and be cryogenically preserved for later rescue. Fortunately he is trained to get in and out of his spacesuit quickly, because after he opens the first seal on his helmet, he's made an icicle in under a minute. At night time on Pluto, he becomes so cold that his nervous system [[spoiler:becomes a superconductor. [[AndIMustScream This allows him to think until the sun switches him off.]]]]
* Nicely addressed and averted in Creator/CharlesStross's ''Literature/TheAtrocityArchive'', in which a character is able to wear a thin, non-insulating suit to walk on a no-atmosphere planet and begins to feel uncomfortably cold in the suit only after he's entered a facility with a pressurized atmosphere.
* In ''Literature/{{Chindi}}'', one unlucky pilot is hit with a blast of cold (followed immediately by ExplosiveDecompression) after a hull breach. Another man is trapped in a compartment separated from the ship by the process of rescuing him, and it's a race to complete the rescue as everything inside it starts icing over.
* In ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'', Elfangor has to leave the ship he's in to retrieve the [[AppliedPhlebotinum Time Matrix]] while racing against the extreme temperatures of space, invoking this trope.
* The final battle in ''[[Literature/HorusHeresy The Flight of the Eisenstein]]'' takes place on the Moon's surface. The narrative repeatedly notes Garro's reaction to the cold and the ice on his enemy's exposed body.
* The ''Literature/StarCarrier'' series falls victim to this despite the author having [[ShownTheirWork Shown His Work]] elsewhere. Water is described as flash-freezing when exposed to space when it should actually boil. There's also a rather odd description in book three of water from a starship's punctured shield cap[[note]]Human starships are mushroom-shaped, with the mushroom's cap located at the bow and filled with water for drinking, fuel for the maneuvering thrusters, and a radiation shield.[[/note]] flash-freezing and at the same time boiling in direct sunlight.
** In fact, the water in vacuum (or at least, severely reduced pressure) does simultaneously boil and freeze. Boiling takes energy (phase-change energy), and it is enough to freeze the rest of the water.
* Creator/GregEgan's ''Literature/{{Orthogonal}}'' trilogy averts this and makes the aversion key to the plot at several points. Because of their BizarreAlienBiology, the aliens that serve as the trilogy's cast don't seem to need to breathe, but they are at near-constant risk of fatal hyperthermia -- sometimes [[SpontaneousHumanCombustion explosively]] -- even under mundane circumstances. Their greatest risk during an unprotected EVA is not asphyxiation, but burning to death from the inside out. (Their "spacesuits" are designed more to keep air flowing over the skin and then vent it to space to disperse heat, rather than to let them breathe or maintain any atmospheric pressure.)
* Inverted in-universe in Creator/HalClement's "Sun Spot". 'Grumpy' Ries has to spend a couple hours keeping an astronomical camera, and its operator, from getting cooked on the surface of a comet making a ''very'' close pass by the Sun. When he comes back inside, the observatory's doctor offers to treat him for burns. Ries points out he's been manhandling sacks of frozen methane and other ices which were still at the temperature of interstellar space. "Break out the frostbite remedy, will you, please?"
* MissionLevity averts this: When space suits are breached, there is generally a bit of frost from rapidly expanding moisture (such as blood), but no flash freezing. (The suits are also equipped to deal with decompression to keep the wearer alive for a while.)
* Averting this is a major point in ''Literature/TheMoteInGodsEye'' and its sequel. Spaceships radiate heat using their [[DeflectorShields shields]]. When under fire, the shield generators generate heat faster than it can be radiated. Shields in this universe are essentially impenetrable, so space battles only end when one ship accumulates too much heat and vaporises itself. In the sequel, the Moties have developed a way of increasing the radius of their shields as they heat up, giving them a larger surface area to radiate heat and allowing them to last much longer in combat that human ships. Unfortunately for them, the only wormhole out of their system ends in the atmosphere of a star (which they don't know about), so their expanding shields end up absorbing heat much faster and destroying them rather than allowing them to fight their way out.
* Surprisingly averted in ''[[Literature/LineOfDelirium Emperors of Illusions]]'', where two characters bail out of a doomed ship in PoweredArmor not really meant for long-term vacuum exposure. One of the characters is wondering what will kill them first: the lack of oxygen or them boiling in their own armor (i.e. due to the heat build-up and few ways of shedding it). They get rescued by a DeusExMachina before this happens, though.
* Cooling issues provide the major limitation on spaceship construction and travel in ''Literature/TheCitizenSeries''. Ships cool in the Continuum even poorer than in realspace, so they have to store their waste heat in large iron heat sinks aboard, which leads to a variant on the [[[https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition30/tryanny.html Tyranny of the Rocket Equation]].[[note]]Iron produces drag on moving objects when present in the Continuum, meaning that ships produce even ''more'' heat pulling their own heat sinks.[[/note]] Once they make planetfall, ships have to cool their heat sinks with pumped-in fresh water, a process that takes days and tends to cause rainstorms across the region.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'' is often guilty of this, as seen in the page quote. Averted, though, in ''[[Series/StarTrekEnterprise Enterprise]]'' when Captain Archer is spaced during the fourth season. The portrayal of the effects of spacing are exceptionally accurate.
* When the engines fail in the ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' episode "Out of Gas", it's asserted that ''Serenity'''s crew will freeze to death before they have time to run out of air, because the power is out and thus so is the heating. [[note]]This has some basis in fact. Engines build up a lot of heat, so logically a spacecraft would be designed to vent heat efficiently. Without an engine to generate heat, a system designed to vent it efficiently ''would'' cause the ship to get cold quickly.[[/note]]
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': "Four To Doomsday." Wearing just an air-helmet, the Doctor explains that he can survive about five minutes in open space. Vacuum is apparently not a problem for his exposed skin; the time-limiting factor is explicitly named as the intense ''cold''.
** In "The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe", the Doctor again is exposed to space, and seems to have no issues even with the cold (and he has no air helmet). He is concerned about burning up on reentry ... so he dons a spacesuit as quickly as possible (as if that would help ... and actually, it apparently does).
*** That space suit is a really futuristic advanced "impact suit", that through some technobabble absorbs most of the force of the impact but also repairs the damage to his body afterward. The Doctor even says "the suit isn't done repairing me yet". He leaves a pretty big crater on the ground where he hits.
* In an episode of ''Series/{{Farscape}}'', Crichton jumps between a spaceship that is about to explode and one that isn't. He doesn't have a spacesuit, and he prepares himself by hyperventilating to oxygenate his blood. He jumps, closes his eyes, and adds additional propulsive force by firing a blast rifle. He survives with little more than skin capillary damage, but it's not a pleasant trip--the first thing he does upon arriving safely is start screaming in pain.
** Spacing characters appears to be something of a running gag on ''Farscape'' as most of the ongoing characters have at one point found themselves exposed to vacuum, with D'Argo holding the record for most (accidental and intentional) spacings. [[GoodThingYouCanHeal Fortunately]], thanks to his BizarreAlienBiology he's alright as long as he's recovered within about 15 minutes. He later voluntarily goes out into space with only a breathing mask.
* ''Series/StargateSG1''. One episode had O'Neill and Teal'c exposed to space for several seconds so they could be rescued from a stray fighter craft--Carter even instructs them to do some heavy breathing first, then exhale as much as possible. Once they're rescued, O'Neill is visibly shaking, but whether it's due to cold or just good old-fashioned near-death trauma isn't really specified. In any case, nobody ever flash-froze.
** At that point they'd been drifting for at least twelve hours with the heating turned to the minimum possible level in order to preserve their compromised life support power. Jack even says that he's "done the freezing to death thing before" when trying to convince Teal'c to turn the heating back up a little bit.
*** In addition, their life support has almost run out, and they are suffering from carbon dioxide poisoning (actually portrayed correctly -- it's not lack of oxygen but rather excess carbon dioxide that the damaged life support system isn't able to remove). The carbon dioxide levels are ALMOST but not quite fatal, so they are already in pretty bad shape when they open the canopy.
* ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|2003}}'' ("The Plan"). A Cylon who commits suicide by airlocking himself is seen with frozen skin, though it's not clearly how long afterward this is.
* Being a show that usually does the research, ''TheWestWing'' gets it right in the S1 finale "What Kind Of Day Has It Been?" The space shuttle ''Columbia'' is experiencing problems preparing for re-entry, with Toby's brother on board:
-->'''Toby:''' First thing the shuttle does after it leaves the atmosphere is open the cargo bay doors. That's what lets the heat out. Once those doors close... they have a pretty short window to get back before it overheats.
* ''Series/BabylonFive'': Dr. Stephen Franklin recounts an event in his childhood wherein a kid was spaced accidentally. Although, to the show's credit, the body was frozen after having spent hours outside.
* This shows up right in the theme song of ''Series/RedDwarf'': "It's cold outside, there's no kind of atmosphere..."
** The novel [[Literature/RedDwarf Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers]] also plays it straight. When a disgusted Lister has the ship's emergency backup milk supply (consisting of dog milk) dumped into space, it instantly freezes into a dog-milk asteroid.

* Spoofed in the ''FlightOfTheConchords'' song "Bowie", in which they ask if the coldness in space makes your nipples pointy.

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* One ''ComicStrip/FlashGordon'' comic published in the '70s featured a woman who leapt from the airlock of one ship to another nearby, without a space suit. She made a mental note of keeping her eyes closed so they wouldn't immediately freeze (there is some truth to that as liquid flash-boils and freezes in a vacuum, though whether the writers had that in mind is another matter). Of course, she was previously MadeOfIron in a grueling process (so she could perform manual labor on Mercury), not to mention a BadassNormal ''before'' that.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Played with in ''TabletopGame/CallOfCthulhu''. Space Mead will protect a human from 'the vacuum and vicissitudes' of space. Of course, the effect ends as soon as you reach your destination, so watch where you're going... and do keep a dose for the way back, will you?
* ''TabletopGame/BattleTech'' averts this on the surface in that one major concern of spacecraft is in fact the threat of ''overheating'' in combat...but its 'heat sinks' (really just compact high-tech heat pumps with radiators) still seem to have suspiciously little trouble venting said heat ''into'' space to cool off again.
* In ''TabletopGame/EclipsePhase'', biomorphs without vacuum sealing can spend one minute in space as long as they keep their lungs empty and their eyes shut. While the game makes it clear that ExplosiveDecompression and boiling organs are fantasies of the [[EarthThatWas pre-Fall]] media, characters do still take 10 points of cold damage per minute the second they enter space without thermal protection. This is especially jarring considering that Eclipse Phase constantly prides itself at being one of the most "hard sci-fi" games out there (except when it comes to alien or post-singularity phenomena, but then it's just Clarke's Third Law at work)
** Even stranger when one book specifically notes that a hard vacuum is a decently good insulator and that freezing to death isn't really a concern.
* Played with in the ''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}'' adventure ''Clones in Space,'' which features an Explosive Decompression Table that determines a character's fate when expelled into space ... and decides whether you freeze, boil, explode, or suffocate ''randomly'' and ''differently for each character''.
* Averted in both ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}'' in general and TranshumanSpace in particular. The books go out of the way to remind that space ''itself'' is neither hot nor cold.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/AngryBirds Space'', if a pig goes beyond an atmosphere and into actual space, they instantly freeze. If they don't re-enter an atmosphere within 2 seconds, they die. Not a problem for the birds, as they are in superhero mode and, thus, ruled by BatmanCanBreatheInSpace.
* In ''VideoGame/SpaceStation13'', going into space without a spacesuit + helmet causes the temperature to drop to nothing and causes massive damage to your person.
* In ''VideoGame/EVEOnline'' you leave a frozen corpse when your pod is destroyed. However, said pod which was filled with a goo that made from ''[[{{Squick}} dead human cells]]'', which probably boiled over when it hit the vacuum. And this isn't what kills you, it's [[AllThereInTheManual the neurotoxin and burning brain scanner activated on pod breach]], which is used to put [[DeathIsCheap your mind in a new cloned body]].
** Also note that one of the damage types in the game is Thermal.
* Used several times in the ''MechWarrior'' series of video games, where battles in space or on planets with no atmosphere allowed your Mech to cool off much faster than normal. Mechs and aerospace fighters are described as using ''heat sinks'' to vent heat, which are sometimes described as being specialized to work in a vacuum. ''Mechwarrior Living Legends'' has the map, Extremity, which takes place on a rotating asteroid near a star. At night, temperatures drop to -150 degrees Celsius, causing all the industrial-runoff lakes to freeze over. [[AvertedTrope When the sun comes up, however, the temperature skyrockets to 250 degrees Celsius]], causing part of the asteroid's surface to vaporize, the lakes to melt, and causing players to [[OverHeating overheat]] their [[HumongousMecha battlemechs]] even more easily
* ''Franchise/DeadSpace'' averts this. Any area exposed to space shows no signs of freezing. One oxygen-deprived area is frozen over, but the announcement system mentions that the area has both life support and climate control malfunctions.
* ''Franchise/MassEffect'' nailed their aversion of this trope. The [[AllThereInTheManual Codex]] goes quite in-depth about heat management. Ships have many ways of dumping heat, from radiative stripes on the hull (oft called tiger-stripes or war paint due to the way they light up on thermal imaging), to a liquid-droplet heat exchange system used in extreme battle conditions. It is also noted that heat is the predominant concern in an engagement, and that ships ''must'' disengage when the build-up is too great. Battles near a planet are brief and frantic because the star's radiative heat causes the ships to overheat faster. It is also noted as the reason why ''Normandy'' cannot use the stealth system for too long: heat is stored in special sinks within the ship [[note]]thermal imaging is the easiest way to detect ships, especially powerhouse warships[[/note]], but if left operating for too long it would eventually bake the crew. In fact that is the ''only'' way to have StealthInSpace.
* The intro to ''SwordOfTheStars II: Lords of Winter'' shows a [[EldritchAbomination Suul'ka]] teleporting into space from an ocean, appearing to be encased in a shell of water which has flash-frozen in space. The Suul'ka then breaks the icy shell, signifying its "birth".
* In ''[[VideoGame/{{X}} X3: Albion Prelude]]'', the achievement for forcing another pilot to eject is titled "It's Cold Outside". This may be a ''Series/RedDwarf'' reference.
* ''VideoGame/{{Naev}}'' averts this trope. Heat generated by your ship's weapons is transferred to sinks inside the ship, which gradually radiate it. As your weapons heat up, their accuracy and rate of fire degrades. As your ship's hull heats up, you become more visible (ships can detect you at longer range, and hostiles will shoot at you more), and outfits cool more slowly. Ships cool more slowly near stars.
* ''VideoGame/{{Starbound}}'' plays it straight as well, your character freezes quite fast on moons and in asteroid fields unless wearing something warm like snow infantry armor or aegisalt armors and above, that or just simply start a campfire.
* In ''VideoGame/EliteDangerous'' one factor you must keep an eye on is the heat level of your ship. Normally, it doesn't rise above about 30% of the safe maximum and if it goes above that waiting is usually enough to cool it back down, but, if you want to use StealthInSpace, you have to cut off all heat emissions, and store all your heat in silent running mode or turn off all your systems including engines and life support. Also, doing things lie firing your weapons and flying too close to a star increases your heat levels, and if your ship gets too hot, it stars taking damage.
* As is the case with most of the rest of the game, VideoGame/KerbalSpaceProgram accurately portrays the non-temperature of space. A vessel that is heated too much in the atmosphere before going into space will retain its temperature, and you will have to use electric charge and radiator panels to get rid of excess heat generated by machinery, electronics, or friction while in space. Trying to operate the temperature or pressure scan experiments while in space will result in the game reminding you that, as there is nothing to take the temperature of, the device will read nothing. That'll give the boys in R&D something to think about.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In the ''WebAnimation/HappyTreeFriends'' TV episode "Blast from the Past", one of Sniffles' failed attempts to use his time machine to make sure Cuddles, Giggles, Toothy and Lumpy don't get maimed on a playground involves him oiling up a seesaw. When Lumpy presses down on his end, Cuddles gets sent flying into space and instantly freezes, where he's then [[LiterallyShatteredLives shattered]] by a passing satellite.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Very specifically averted in [[http://www.darthsanddroids.net/episodes/0124.html this]] ''Webcomic/DarthsAndDroids'' comic.
* Averted in ''Webcomic/{{Freefall}}'', when Helix says he does not need air to survive, and Florence replies that he is air-''cooled''
** Rather fortunate as he was apparently planning a "really funny joke" once they got into space.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheMagicSchoolBus'' The first episode features the class landing on Pluto, which has an atmosphere that is very cold but also ''extremely'' thin (at most estimated to have 1/350,000 the air pressure of the surface of the Earth), after Janet is stubborn about leaving Arnold forces the issue by removing his helmet, his head instantly freezes.
* ''WesternAnimation/MaloKorrigan'' had this played straight and averted. One episode had Malo floating in space dressed only in ordinary clothes and a breathing mask. He was okay afterward.
** But in another his ship got crabs... erm, lava crabs. To kill them he flushed them out in the space which is cold, it kills them instantly. As well as tossing one of the crewmates outside to cool her off.
* ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'' averts this. The Autobots have no problems in space, they have a lot more concern with the Arctic, though, where Sub-zero temperatures are a major concern.
* Averted in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold''. The air conditioning system of the new [[SpaceStation Watchtower]] was broken and so everyone kept complaining about the heat.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheSecretSaturdays'', Doc flies a jet fighter into space, which freezes on the way up. He shatters the ice on the nose as he leaves the cockpit. When he gets back, the now-exposed cockpit is frozen over, as is the spot he had cleared before.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The crew of the Apollo 13 had to shut down almost all of the electronic systems to conserve power after an explosion crippled their ship. After ''three days'', the astronauts reported ''near''-freezing temperatures in the Lunar Module and even condensation and ice forming on the interior. The only reason the temperature situation was so bad was because the Apollo command modules, Odyssey included, had been designed to radiate ''extra'' heat and make up the difference from waste heat from the electronics. After all, it's a lot easier to make heat than get rid of it. Shown in [[Film/{{Apollo13}} the movie]].
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soyuz_T-13 Soyuz T-13]], or rather the space station Salyut-7 they were repairing, was frozen to 40° due to power system failure. This wasn't instantaneous, of course -- contact was lost after the onboard batteries were drained in February, but the next crew didn't arrive until September, which means it took six months for the temperature to drop that low.
* Fortunately averted with the Vostok spacecraft. The only reason the Vostok cosmonauts couldn't open their capsule up and go on EVA was because the onboard electronics were ''air-cooled,'' so they would rapidly and fatally overheat in the vacuum of space.
* During the first Skylab space station mission, [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skylab_2 Skylab 2]], one of the solar arrays was torn loose in such a way that it was unable to perform its secondary mission of reflecting away sunlight from hitting the space station itself. Without it, temperatures inside Skylab skyrocketed to 52°C[[note]]126°F[[/note]], until the astronaut crew managed to do repairs in order to bring the temperature back down.
* The [[StupidJetpackHitler hyper-futuristic for its time]] [[http://www.luft46.com/misc/sanger.html Sänger Orbital Bomber project]] of 1941 relied on a flight path of skipping the denser air around 40 km[[note]]25 mi[[/note]] altitude alternating with jumps into upper atmosphere which were to cool the spacecraft by exposing it to the cold vacuum of the space. [[ScienceMarchesOn Nowadays it can be easily said]] there were far more chances to burn the spacecraft like a meteor.
* Fun fact: space telescopes that study the sky on the infrared band such as NASA's [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spitzer_Space_Telescope Spitzer]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wide-field_Infrared_Survey_Explorer WISE]], or ESA's[[note]]: European Space Agency[[/note]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herschel_Space_Observatory Herschel]] need to have their instruments at ''very'' low temperatures in order to work (below 2K[[note]]: -271°C or -456°F[[/note]] for the latter). When the coolant liquid helium for Spitzer and Herschel runs out, they cannot work properly.
** This is actually a problem for all infrared imaging. Since an infrared camera itself has a temperature and radiates infrared, any signal from an object the same temperature or cooler than it will be swamped by its own radiation. This makes it important to prevent infrared cameras getting too hot, since you won't be able to see body heat if the camera is at body temperature. Telescopes have more of a problem because they're usually looking at very long wavelengths and need to be very cold to avoid producing those wavelengths themselves. This also explains why heat-sensing organs can be found in cold-blooded creatures like snakes, but not in any warm-blooded animals - a snake can see a mouse in infrared, but a mouse wouldn't be able to see the snake.