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Batman Can Breathe in Space

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"Guess those candybutt astronauts didn't have the stones to try it."

Superman: Great Kandor! Batman, your space helmet doesn't cover your head! How can you—?
Batman: I'm Batman. And I can breathe in space.

Find yourself in space without a spacesuit? Not a problem! Those supposed hazards of the "unforgiving" vacuum of space just never show up. Ordinary people can breathe just fine in space, and you can take a spacewalk in your underwear if you don't mind being a bit chilly. For those worried about oxygen, the most you'll need is an oxygen mask, but an upside-down fishbowl on your head will often do in a pinch. You don't need a "can-breathe-in-space" power, it doesn't need to be explained, and you certainly don't need a spacesuit. It makes you wonder why astronauts bothered with them in the first place.

In Real Life, space exposure is dangerous. Suffocation is the greatest concern, followed closely behind by your internal fluids boiling away due to the low pressure and radiation from high-energy wavelengths that the atmosphere normally absorbs. It is also recommended to not hold your breath, as the internal pressure could cause your lungs to rupture. That said, people can theoretically survive in space for a minute or two, given then can be rescued while unconscious and given medical assistance afterwards.


Superpowers complicate the situation. This is about how ordinary people don't need spacesuits in space. Single-Power Superheroes are usually close enough to normal to count, but characters with Nigh-Invulnerable powers, Bizarre Alien Biology, and magic powers aren't "normal" enough for this trope. Their survival can be Handwaved away as part of their abilities. This trope is for when characters with no relevant powers are exposed to the vacuum of space without protection and suffer no negative consequences.

Sub-Trope to The Needless, because the character is somehow protected from dangers that would be lethal to human beings, and to Space Does Not Work That Way, because these outer space inaccuracies are in service of the story. Compare Space Is Noisy, where sound is conveyed via vacuum in the same way as sound is conveyed through atmosphere, allowing the characters to talk to one another. Contrast Explosive Decompression, where being exposed to a vacuum will quickly make you explode due to the air inside your body trying to expand and fill the void.


A work featuring this trope falls on the softer edge of Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness.


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  • In a Capital One commercial (seen here), Herman Li and Sam Totman of DragonForce are standing on an asteroid.
  • A PBS promotion for Sesame Street briefly has Big Bird and a five-year-old girl on the Moon during the Apollo landings with no protection whatsoever.

    Anime and Manga 
  • In A Certain Scientific Railgun, Mikoto and Kuroko are launched to the edge of the atmosphere to deal with an approaching missile. They are not bothered by the vacuum, but could not breathe and had to work fast so Kuroko could teleport them back to Earth before they suffocated.
    • This is a borderline case, however, because they had not actually left the Atmoshpere at all, but were on the edge of the stratosphere to intercept a satelite that was falling from the Themosphere. And in the aftermath, both where left in poor condition from the act, thus were not unharmed from the stunt.
  • Digimon Frontier: Late on the series, our heroes end stranded in a moon, and there's no air problems. A Fan Sub actually lampshaded this. Then again, they're in the digital world. Everything is made of data, so real-world physics don't apply.
  • Doraemon: Doraemon has pocket gadgets that allows one to breathe in space without a suit. No mention is made of the other problems with space travel.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • In the original series, Son Goku uses his power pole to drop the rabbit-like Carrot Master and his thugs off on the moon. Neither Goku making the trip or the moon bound gang members suffer any ill effects because this is a re-telling of the rabbit-in-the-moon myth from Japanese folklore.
    • In Dragon Ball Z, during a filler episode, Vegeta and Nappa are shown to be able to breathe in space, with both Saiyan warriors standing just outside their small spaceships. However, Frieza later points out that Saiyans would suffocate in space.
    • During the fight between Bardock and Frieza, Bardock is just floating in space kicking butt (or is at least in the outer atmosphere). Despite Frieza's claim, Saiyans and other high-level fighters are shown doing perfectly fine in a vacumm.
    • In Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, Beerus and Goku have a conversation and part of their fight in low Earth orbit. While Beerus is a legitimate Physical God, Goku is still supposed to be a normal Saiyan, who would suffocate due to lack of oxygen, if the series hadn't already shown that it doesn't care about that.
  • Galaxy Express 999: Tetsuro is baffled to hear the sound of distant church bells as the 999 approaches a planet. Its inhabitants are so arrogantly pious that they have gravitational wave emitters which broadcast an intense graviton carrier wave which induces the sound of distant church bells in passing ships. Impressed, Tetsuro rolls down the window and sticks his head out to get a better look.
  • Glass Fleet: Unless it's relevant to the plot that they don't, it's safe to assume that humans can breathe in space. There's only one time where it's relevant.
  • On the last episode of the Kaitou Tenshi Twin Angel anime, the girls fly off to space via pure willpower to destroy a Kill Sat. They're also shown surviving re-entry into the atmosphere fine. Oddly, despite all her complaints of "How do we go to space?" and "How do we come back from space?", Kurumi never asks how are they breathing in space.
  • Mai-Otome. Some fans have tried to justify it by saying "Otome can breathe in space", but nanomachine enhancements would not change the fact that "Otome needs oxygen badly!" In the OVA Arika even takes the completely-normal Mashiro with her (for a sight-seeing tour of the world... no seriously, that's exactly what she says). It's entirely possible that said sequences only take place in the outer atmosphere where some oxygen would still be present, although that still doesn't help the Mashiro example. Then there's the fact that Lena gets slammed into the side of the moon in Sifr...
  • A number of characters in Sgt. Frog get away with this. Lampshaded in the Funimation dub, when the narrator complains about Space Police Officer Poyon walking around unprotected in space at the start of episode 11.
  • Sonic X:
    • Early in the first season Sonic wing-walks the Blue Tornado into space, and promptly freezes when outside of Earth's atmosphere. He is fine when they re-enter it. Their own universe must have different laws, or something...
    • The third season. All the furries and alien beings can breathe, speak, and generally not die while strolling or freefalling in space without wearing anything other than their fur or clothes, but human characters (Chris and Eggman) have to wear space suits when space walking.
  • In Star Blazers/Space Battleship Yamato, our heroes can turn their regular uniform into a spacesuit just by putting on a helmet. This often leaves their neck or the back of their driving-glove-clad hands open to space, which realistically would produce massive bruising at best.
    • In Space Battleship Yamato: The New Journey, Desslok is shown standing on his ship without even a helmet. Also, his cape is billowing in the space-wind.
    • Really, that's par for the course for any Matsumoto production. The windows on the Galaxy Express 999 open, Harlock is often seen steering the Arcadia from his battle bridge — on top of his ship (next to the fluttering Skull and Crossbones flag) and Big One from Galaxy Railways has a balcony at the rear where you can stand and watch while your hair blows in the space-breeze.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, but by the time we see people breathing in space, there are things so much crazier that it's easy to overlook.

    Asian Animation 
  • 3000 Whys of Blue Cat: When Blue Cat and Feifei get sent into outer space in the episode "Will Earth Be Destroyed?", they're able to talk to each other just fine without wearing helmets or space clothes.

    Comic Books 
  • In Cerebus the Aardvark, during Cerebus' time on the Moon with the Judge at the end of Church and State II and the extensive "trek through the solar system" section in the last quarter of Minds, Cerebus and other characters have no space-faring gear of any sort.
  • In the second story-arc of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (IDW) the lack of oxygen doesn't seem to be an issue on the moon. The princesses did bring the moon closer first, so it could just be within the planet's atmosphere, but that wasn't the reason they gave for doing it.
  • In the Sam & Max: Freelance Police episode, "Bad Day On The Moon", the eponymous duo blast off to the moon (via thousands and thousands of match heads stuffed into the DeSoto's tailpipe) with only a set of penny-conscious moon gear (paper bags with plastic eye holes to put over their heads) to protect them from the lack of atmosphere on the moon. But, despite Sam's preparedness (he brought a spare bag in case he ran out of air), it turns out that they can breathe easily on the moon, as Max exemplifies by taking his bag off to dig some moon dust out of his eye. Explained thusly:
    Sam: So let me get this straight: We can breathe on the moon?
    Max: I guess those candy-butt astronauts never had the stones to try!
  • If you're a comic book character simply ignoring physics is a valid option: in Trinity, Despero leaps out of his armada flagship to fight Green Lantern in space, when his lackey objects saying he has no space suit on, Despero merely shouts "Air is for cowards! Do it!" and he actually survives perfectly fine.
  • In X-Men: X-Cutioner's Song, there's one scene where Cyclops and Jean Grey escape one of Stryfe's fortresses and attempt to get away by crawling across the moon. Not only do they survive that brief point of time before they pass out. That's also counting the fact that there's also probably enough gravity that Jean can take a misstep and promptly faceplant onto the moon's surface and get a bloody nose.
  • Wonder Woman (1942): The early stories sometimes handwave Diana and the Holliday Girls' very exposed space travel, with things like air retention gel or magical earrings, and sometimes don't bother. This includes the very human Holliday Girls surviving walking around on the moon and the surface of the sun in t-shirts and shorts.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes:
    • Calvin's Spaceman Spiff persona is once seen repairing his spaceship without adequate vacuum protection. This is Artistic License on the part of the character rather than the author.
    • Calvin himself breathes in space just fine, such as in the strips where he sneezes himself into orbit, grows too large to stand on the Earth, or flies to Mars with Hobbes on his wagon. Of course, considering it might all just be Calvin's imagination, it makes sense he wouldn't let himself asphyxiate in his own fantasy.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animation 
  • In Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, all of the kids are seen sitting in open space multiple times without any equipment whatsoever. Also there's the fact that a fire can be built on a large asteroid and an airless area is apparently capable of conveying sound.
  • In the Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf film Moon Castle: The Space Adventure, the gang goes to the moon to keep the Gourd King from making it bitter. They do not wear their spacesuits while on the moon, and yet they have no problems breathing there.
  • In The Return of Hanuman, Hanuman fought against Rahu and Ketu in outer space, with no space equipment whatsoever.
  • In Treasure Planet, everyone can breathe in space. No explanation; they just... can. Chalk it up to Rule of Cool, since the whole movie treats space like an ocean. Space is called "The Etherium". And there's all sorts of spaceborne organisms, like Space Whales.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, the protagonists travel to the Moon via hot air balloon. It fits the tone, as it's a Mind Screw fantasy film and the Moon is depicted as a rather surreal place.
  • In Airplane II: The Sequel, after the Mayflower crash lands on the Moon, the passengers evacuate onto the surface without any breathing gear. Also, they can hear each other fine and there's apparently normal Earth gravity.
  • Comically treated as the Elephant in the Living Room in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, when Mini-Me's rescued unharmed some time long after he was sent spinning off into space.
    Dr. Evil: It's a flu shot. You've been in the coldness of space, I don't want you to get sick.
  • Near the end of The Black Hole the characters are inexplicably seen climbing from the Cygnus to the probe ship through the vacuum of space without space suits.
  • In The Empire Strikes Back, while they use breathing masks at the time, when Han, Leia, and Chewie venture outside the Millennium Falcon while hiding in what turns out to be a giant space slug, they don't seem to have any protection against decompression. One could assume the asteroid was large enough to have enough of some semblance of an atmosphere, or that the worm's innards are responsible.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Guardians of the Galaxy apparently operates by the principle that you can't breathe in space, but if you have some kind of respirator, you need no other protection from the elements. Peter Quill flies from the Kyln to the other Guardians in the Milano in nothing but his civilian clothes and his mask, which doesn't even cover his hair. Similarly, Peter later saves Gamora's life by coming out of his mining pod in space and giving her his mask, holding his breath long enough for The Cavalry — in the form of his space pirate adopted family — to come and get both of them. Neither suffer particularly ill effects given that they both spend about a minute in vacuum.
    • In Avengers: Infinity War, Thor can breathe and talk in space, both surviving a ship explosion and later when he kicks starts a dead Neutron star.
    • While at first the title character of Captain Marvel (2019) activates her collapsible helmet whenever exposed to vacuum, Carol eventually figures out she can just keep her head exposed, being just that powerful, as shown by both her final scene in that movie and her introduction in Avengers: Endgame.
  • Parodied in Spaceballs, when Barf moves Princess Vespa to Lone Starr's ship, he just takes a ladder and climbs in her sun roof.
  • Abused in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace:
    • Superman talks in space. Nuclear Man uses his super-breath in space. To freeze Superman. Lacy screams in space. And by that point, the brain melts, if it hadn't already from everything else wrong with that film.
    • And in a deleted scene, he takes the boy who wrote to him saying he should destroy all of Earth's nuclear weapons for a flight around the Earth, without a spacesuit. At least in the comic book adaptation he gives him one.
    • Hilariously, at the end of the film, after defeating Nuclear-Man and Luthor asks him how he did it, Superman begins his answer with the words "High school physics..."
  • The silent film Woman in the Moon, despite being one of the few early sci-fi movies where the creators paid attention to technical accuracy. This was because silent film actors depended greatly on facial expressions and body language which would be obscured by bulky spacesuits and helmets.

  • In the sci-fi series Akiko, this is handwaved hilariously when the eponymous character takes her first trip into space in a roofless shuttle—there's plenty of air in space!
  • The last third of The Divine Comedy is entirely set in space and there's no mention that our very human protagonist has any problem breathing as he jumps off the Sun and flies to Mars. To be fair, this was written in 1324, so NASA didn't have the funding to correct Dante's error.
  • In From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne, soon-to-be-shot-into-space adventurer Michael Ardan is asked whether it is not foolish, since there is little if no air on the Moon? "Then I will only breathe on special occasions!" he quips.
  • In Marvin Wanted MORE!, the titular sheep somehow manages to breathe in space in order to eat the entire Earth.
  • In The Platinum Key the characters can breathe in space in the Jumbo vortex, although the reason is unknown.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Lampshaded by the MC Bat Commander in the first episode's A Cartoon! segment on The Aquabats! Super Show!.
    MCBC: [inhales] Love that moon air!
  • Doctor Who:
    • Not in space, mind you, but close: in "Terror of the Zygons", the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane are trapped in a hyperbaric chamber being drained of oxygen. He puts Sarah into a trance, telling her she does not need to breathe, then puts himself into one until they are rescued.
  • In "Pyramids of Mars", the Doctor survives strangulation at the hands of a mummy servitor. Afterward, the Doctor claims that he has a respiratory bypass system. It has since been referenced in a variety of episodes when the Doctor needs to survive a toxic atmosphere or the vacuum of space.
  • In "Four to Doomsday", the Doctor survives in space with nothing but a TARDIS "spacepack" that only has a visor. Presumably there is a forcefield involved that protects the user, but it is never mentioned onscreen.
    • "The Rings of Akhaten" is the most insane example in the new series. Everyone is going around in a planetary ring system that appears to be open to the vacuum of space. The only explanation is that there's probably some kind of atmospheric shell — but this is not brought up in the episode.
  • For the most part, Farscape manages to avoid this trope, the exception being in the mini-arc "Look At The Princess", where John Crichton manages to hold his breath long enough to float from one craft to another. Even though the air pressure will rupture your lungs, that's why you don't hold your breath in a vacuum, though that's the least of that scene's problems with science . . .
  • Lexx gives its human characters spacesuits consisting of... a helmet with a plastic visor covering the eyes. That's all. But it it's all part of the charm.
  • Lois & Clark sees Superman hanging around in space without any protective gear. Then, just as everyone's convinced that he can do that because he's Superman, he takes Lois for a trip up there with him. Without any sort of breathing apparatus. And has a conversation with her there.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Mike and Pearl occasionally sit in the open door of Pearl's space-worthy VW Bus. But if you're wondering how they eat and breathe, and other science facts, just repeat to yourself "It's just a show, I should really just relax".
    • In the KTMA "Season Zero", there is a series of episodes where Joel is absent, as the bots locked him out of the Satellite as a prank. When he makes it back inside and they question his survival, he tells them to relax.
  • Power Rangers plays this one mostly straight. Power Rangers Lost Galaxy's Mike was able to survive, albeit unconsciously, in the vacuum of space, while Power Rangers in Space's Carlos could take an unmorphed little girl for a ride on his Galaxy Glider. Most egregiously, the team-up episode "Forever Red" features the villains riding horses on the moon.
    • Stingwingers bodily disembarked from the Scorpion Stinger into the vacuum of space to destroy two of the Megazords in the episode "Journey's End".
    • Ironically, the villains themselves were robots, and would naturally have no problem with vacuum. The horses, on the other hand, were, to all appearances, perfectly normal horses.
      • There are canonically indigenous bats living on the moon in the PR universe, per Turbo. Plus, Merrick's Ranger form is named for the LUNAR wolf... which stops being silly when you consider the lifeforce of his monstrous Org alter ego Zen-Aku is bound to the moon's own ecosystem.
    • Rita, Zedd, Finster, Goldar, and Rito wander around the surface of the moon to no ill effect for the entire second half of Power Rangers Zeo. They even watch television. There's something approaching an Earth-normal atmosphere there.
    • Additionally, in the In Space Crossover episode "Shell Shocked", the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles can also breathe in space — they go for a ride on the Rangers' Galaxy Gliders. In a bit of meta-irony, the TMNT franchise died (until 2003) shortly after.
    • It's generally assumed that Rita made the moon (or at least the area her palace is in) habitable with her magic when she first set up shop there and it remains so to this day. However, that doesn't explain the unprotected girl on the Galaxy Glider, hair blowing in the wind that space totally shouldn't have. (And no, it doesn't matter that the scene was identical in Megaranger; that just means two production companies fail science forever.)
  • In Red Dwarf: "Confidence and Paranoia," Confidence tries to invoke this trope while outside of the ship with Lister. Lister refuses to go along. Confidence then tries to encourage him by taking off his own space helmet and explodes.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. In "The Adventures of Captain Proton" holoprogram Tom Paris is seen jetpacking through the vacuum of space protected only by a leather jacket and aviator goggles. Since it's an Affectionate Parody of 1930s sci-fi film serials, even the slightest semblance of realism isn't on the cards.

    Music Videos 
  • Rammstein in their video for "Amerika", where they appear on the Moon in astronaut suits but without helmets. Since the Moon surface where they perform is revealed In-Universe to be just a set.

  • If the backglass and Astral Finale of Junk Yard are taken into consideration, the player character flies into space with nothing but a fish bowl for oxygen.
  • The Match Sequence for The Party Zone shows Captain B. Zarr flying through outer space in his rocket, with the cockpit open and exposing him to vacuum with no ill effects.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Rule of Fun/Cool physics of the Dungeons & Dragons setting Spelljammer allow this: there is no oxygen in space, but whenever an object goes into space, it takes an "envelope" of air with it. So everyone can breathe in space, for a minute or handful on their own. The amount of air is proportional to the size of the object, which helps the crew of a huge ship, but not a giant, for example, since it uses proportionally as much air. After a while, the air becomes stale and eventually runs out, though far-traveling ships usually avoid it with air-creating spells or plants. Escape velocity or burning up in the atmosphere aren't problems — if you go up high enough, you end up in space, simple as that. All of this was designed to allow Space Pirates to stand on the decks of their wooden ships... In Space. Incidentally, the way gravity works is even weirder.

    And that's within the solar system-containing crystal spheres. Outside, the universe is filled with volatile, gaseous phlogiston. You still have to worry about running out of air, but if you do, breathing phlogiston places living things in suspended animation. People preserved thusly can be revived even millennia later by giving them fresh air, with only a slight chance of death from shock. Putting people in airtight coffins for trips between crystal spheres makes for the ultimate budget travel option!

    Theme Parks 


    Video Games 
  • Aether: The boy and the creature can survive in the vacuum of space just fine.
  • Many Battletech missions take place on airless moons and martian-style environments. While BattleMechs are rated for hard vacuum in-universe (this is one of their major draws), most of the standard-issue vehicles that you can encounter in such missions are not. In addition, cracking open the cockpit of a 'mech does not put the MechWarrior inside at risk of decompression or atmospheric poisoning.
  • During the last level of Binary Boy, both the Boy and a few other humanoid characters can walk around in space without protection just fine (even though the Boy did need a scuba mask when going underwater.)
  • One mission in Cosmic Star Heroine takes place on an asteroid floating through space, yet your party, mostly consisting of organic beings, walks on it wearing nothing more than their usual attire. The gravity also appears to be comfortable.
  • Played for laughs in Double Dragon Neon. While on a rocket powered ten floor pagoda, Billy and Jimmy only need to hold their breath to go outside the space ship. During those sections you can visibly see their cheeks are puffed out.
    Billy: We'd better hold our breath, this is a hard vacuum.
    Jimmy: Good idea, bro!
  • DuckTales NES game:
    • It has a moon level, yet Scrooge McDuck doesn't get sprites of him in a space suit. Parodied here:
      "Wait, Uncle Scrooge you need a suit out there! How are you alive? You need heat! Also air!"
    • The remake finally explains why Scrooge can do that. He's been chewing oxygen-flavored taffy (though this doesn't explain how he can survive the extreme cold and lack of air pressure).
  • Duke Nukem waffles on this. In Duke Nukem 3D, Duke can handle the vacuum of space just fine with only a t-shirt and a cigar for defense. In Duke Nukem Forever however, Duke needs to hold his breath to walk on the surface of the moon. Still Beyond the Impossible, but it seems that Duke's spacesuit-grade lungs went the same way as his ability to carry more than two guns at once during his twelve year break. Duke is seen wearing a spacesuit on the postcards that came with the Balls of Steel Edition of Forever (also featured on the walls in a few spots in the casino level.) Presumably Duke didn't want to demasculate the other astronauts when that shot was taken. Space Suit was an planned inventory item that would have activated automatically like the Scuba Gear. In the pre-release 1.0 demo leak, it changes Duke's speed/physics to moon conditions while letting him survive in the vacuum of space. However, only one such vacuum area was built (in the level Dark Side) so the Space Suit was turned into a decorative sprite, and the vacuum area was altered slightly with a forcefield so that it could be played normally. It's still in the Zoo demo level, so its cutting must have been a late one.
  • In A Hat in Time, everyone can seemingly breathe in space just fine. The game's kicked off by a mafia member breaking into Hat Kid's spaceship (without a space suit), then at the end of the game all the villains end up hanging on the outside of the spaceship asking her not to leave, before being pushed off with a broom.
  • The House on the Moon from House Flipper is literally on the moon, and is seemingly unprotected from the vacuum of space. There is no need for airlocks or spacesuits, though, as it is mechanically the same as any other house in the game.
  • Inverted in Kerbal Space Program — the Kerbals wear full spacesuits everywhere, even on their Earth-like home planet. They only remove their helmets in pressurized crew containers. This is lampshaded by some of the science blurbs on Kerbin: "I don't think a spacesuit was really necessary to get here, was it?"
  • The Kirby series featured many levels or scenes that take place in space, most of them with the little pink hero traveling on the Warp Star. In Kirby Mass Attack, Daroach even lampshades it when talking about a level that takes place on an asteroid: "How can you even breathe in space?" The oddest thing may not even be him surviving - since he's an alien - but the fact Kirby is still able to vacuum up everything in sight when there is no air. Mass Attack is also where Kirby is too weak to survive underwater any more but space seems to take less effort.
    • Kirby's not the only character this applies to either; Ribbon has no trouble traveling through space on the back of the crystal in Kirby 64 and Meta Knight just needs his Cape Wings to travel between planets in Kirby Super Star Ultra.
  • This has made into official Batman media as of LEGO Batman 3. Specifically, Robin jokingly asks Batman why he needs a spacesuit, having always thought, well, you know.
  • La Tale has several dungeons that take place both inside and outside a space station. The only effect it has on you is an enhanced jumping ability.
  • In MDK2, the invading aliens apparently have no trouble working in vacuum without any protective gear or having large outdoor areas on their orbiter. This orbiter is apparently keeping all that air inside a forcefield because when Doctor Hawkins opens the airlock on his own spaceship Jim Dandy, all the air in the Unnecessarily Large Interior gets promptly blown out through it, including Hawkins himself if he doesn't find a way to pin himself to the floor. Even then he is in danger of suffocating... unless he puts on a fishbowl, which doesn't even fit tightly to his neck.
  • Most versions of Rainbow Road in Mario Kart. It's best noticeable on the Nitro Rainbow Road in Mario Kart 8, where the background Toads need spacesuits, but the racers don't.
  • Mass Effect:
    • In Mass Effect, every squad member wears a completely sealed helmet in any remotely hazardous location, including ones without any atmosphere. Mass Effect 2 lets this slide; half the team wears nothing more than a breath mask in hard vacuum (only Tali and Garrus wear complete spacesuits, even if Garrus' has a damaged collar). Special mention to Jack, who goes about in her usual Stripperiffic outfit and a breath mask.
    • In Mass Effect 3, this is the result of certain DLC looks for squaddies — Ashley and James can apparently survive with just a visor or headset.
    • The kett of Mass Effect: Andromeda can temporarily survive in a vacuum.
  • While all units in MechWarrior Living Legends are air-tight and have closed life support systems, nothing particularly bad happens to the pilot of a BattleMech or a Battlearmor when their cockpit is breached and exposed to the elements — even on a map like Extremity or Inferno.
  • There are several maps on Nexuiz and Xonotic which take place at platforms in outer space (Soylent, Evilspace in the former; Xoylent in the latter) or starships/floating factories where the player(s) can go outside (the eponymous Starship in the former; G-23 in the latter), yet few of the characters have any space suit to talk about.
  • The same deal happens with OpenArena, having several maps taking place in space such as oa_pvomit, oa_shine, am_spacecont, suspended, wrackdm17 and czest1tourney, yet only a few characters (Grunt, Grism, Sarge, S_Marine) have a spacesuit or are even aliens/nonhumans (Liz, Merman, Skelebot).
  • The Horizon Lunar Colony map in Overwatch takes place in... well, a colony on the moon. It features two airlocks that allow access to the lunar surface. Now, some characters have armor or abilities that could be handwaved as protecting them from the harsh vacuum, but most don't. Nevertheless, the only downsides to anyone going outside are that their movement speed slows to a crawl and they lose the ability to hear anything. Also, opening both airlock doors simultaneously doesn't have any effect on the internal colony atmosphere.
  • There are 2 moon maps in Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2, and there's no sort of sustaining tech for either the Plants or Zombies.
  • Punky Skunk: Punky, the Chews, and Badler spend the last stages of the game in outer space.
  • Putt-Putt and Pep can breathe in space perfectly well in Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon. Strangely, Pep does wear a helmet at first, but loses it as soon as they land on the moon.
  • Ratchet from Ratchet & Clank can survive wearing no protection on baby planets that logically shouldn't hold any atmosphere. He did gain an O2 helmet in the first game and presumably still has it — not that they alter his model to include it in any of the subsequent games. The mask still leaves his upper face and tail exposed to hard vacuum with no ill effects.
    • In Going Commando and Up Your Arsenal, Ratchet has a helmet with a visor that normally only covers his eyes, but it extends to cover his whole face and a rebreather appears automatically upon Ratchet entering a vacuum, diving underwater, or entering certain toxic atmospheres. There are still some baby planets where the rebreather doesn't activate, but these worlds also tend to have plants and animals that are apparently doing just fine out there, so this trope may still be in effect.
      • Plus in the Future games, the O2 mask was changed from a full helmet to a small face mask.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • It varies in the games; most stages set in space don't have a problem with breathing, but there are some exceptions, especially any stage where only Super forms are permitted. Whether the need for Super Mode is due to problems breathing or need for the power of hovering/flight generally granted by such forms can be somewhat unclear. It may be possible that the other space station-based stages have artificial atmosphere. Strangely, even though they can survive in a vacuum, Sonic and co. can still drown if they stay underwater for too long.
    • In Sonic Adventure 2, even though characters can get sucked out of the space station through broken windows, none of them have any trouble breathing in the vacuum when they venture outside.
  • Space Channel 5 is inconsistent with this one. Some levels show Ulala in outer space while wearing a full spacesuit, but at the end of the game she leads a parade through hard vacuum without even an oxygen supply.
  • Utterly spoofed in the fangame Space Quest: Incinerations, where the laws of physics work in such a way that you can, in fact, breathe in space, among other impossible things. The first indication of this is in the introduction, where Roger Wilco, after waking up, groggily wanders around a spaceship trying to find some coffee, completely oblivious to the fact that the ship has been shot to pieces in a massive battle and is exposed to the vacuum all over.
  • Starkiller in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II. He flees the planet Kamino in Darth Vader's starfighter, the TIE Advanced x1. Every official schematic of said vehicle asserts that it has no life support system (Like every other part of the TIE line, hence why the TIE Pilots wear those costumes).
    • The reason of which is another, more logical example in the SWU at large. Darth Vader, thanks to his "armor" being a glorified life-support system, is essentially always in a space suit. Early drafts of a A New Hope even had him fly through space (The Force?).
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, he didn't need anything to breathe, either on the moon or in transit to it. Even though travel consisted of being shot from a cannon. Goombella realizes and lampshades this if you ask her about the moonbase's entryway.
    • In Super Mario Galaxy, a luma is put in Mario's cap to give him the ability to travel through space, which apparently includes breathing as if it were filled with air. This isn't the problem, it's that everyone else can breathe just fine with no such justification, with the issue never being brought up. Then again, there is a conspicuous "woosh" sound when Mario flies from planet to planet; maybe that space is filled with air...
    • And then in Super Paper Mario, despite having gone to the moon and back in the preceding game, Tippi will insist that you need to get a "space helmet" (Which is just an empty goldfish bowl) before you can start chapter 4 proper. You're then given the option to be a wise guy by refusing to put it on, with an appropriate result.
    • Mario Sports Mix gave us the star ship. Not only is it in space, but also right next to the sun and in the middle of a meteor shower. And yet no one suffers negative effects from it. You are even rewarded for catching the meteors.
    • In Super Mario Odyssey, Mario can explore the Moon Kingdom without needing a space suit; he can get one, but he doesn't need to wear it. Similarly, Bowser, Peach, the Broodals, various enemies and every other sentient species from throughout the game can breathe in space too.
  • Super Robot Wars series:
  • The Super Smash Bros. series plays this straight with the Star Fox stages. Brawl actually parodies this with one of Fox's Codec conversations, where Slippy gives this trope quite the Lampshade Hanging. You can hear more about it right here.
  • Time Gal: Reika spends the later stages in outer space in nothing but a bikini.
  • Touhou:
  • In Silent Sinner in Blue, Sakuya opens a window while inside a flying spaceship.
  • During Tenshi's Last Spell in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, you are fighting on top of stone pillars reaching above the atmosphere.
  • TumblePop has the last two levels set in outer space and on the Moon, but the sprite of the main characters remains the same.
  • Twisted Metal 1 and 2 involve the Roberts siblings being whisked up into outer space by Calypso twisting their wishes. Carl was stuck out there for a year, and when he and Jamie reunite later, they don't require any spacesuits to survive or converse in the vacuum.
  • In X-Wing, this runs into Fridge Logic, hard. Canonically, most Rebel pilots don't have fully-sealed and self-contained helmets. Since in the films they don't seem to have ejection seats either, this isn't as problematic as it could be. However, as a game mechanic in the flight simulator, your X-Wing, A-Wing, B-Wing or Y-Wing is given an ejection seat... but the same non-enclosed helmet. Rebels can breathe in space? We never see anyone eject in the films, but dialogue indicates that they can (and specifically that Porkins should).

    Web Animation 

  • In Schlock Mercenary, the trope namer was referenced almost to the letter here, with Shortpacked! mentioned in that strip's note. And with a nice lampshading of the speaker's sanity. Not that it's a surprise to anyone at that point...
  • Shortpacked! is the Trope Namer ("How would he know? Has he tried?"). More recent strips show that, while Bruce Wayne can breathe in space, Dick Grayson can't. One Bigger Than Cheeses comic lampshades this with the title "Breathing in space doesn't help on the Sun" — the comic itself is about what would really happen in a fight between Batman and Superman. Incidentally, while Batman can breathe in space, The Flash can't... oops!

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: Gumball doesn't have any problems breathing or even talking at space in "The Debt". He is also seen there with Penny and four planets in "The Compilation".
  • Played straight with almost all the superheroes and villains in Atomic Puppet, including the title Kid Hero. The only exception is Mookie, but even then, the only thing he ever needs is the helmet (usually a makeshift glass bowl!). However, given Mookie has no powers unlike every other superhero or supervillain, the show's basic underlining seems to be that having superpowers automatically allows one to breathe in space.
  • In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, during the first episode, Batman is shown occasionally in space without breathing gear. Plus, the breathing gear he gets is just a plastic covering of the mouth hole in his suit. Then again, with that hole plugged, the suit covered his entire body. Being that this was a heavily gadget-laden Batman, perhaps the suit was self-contained?
  • Ben 10:
    • This was done in Alien Force. However since they were with a 100,000+ year old scientist that walked through time like it was nothing, they didn't bother to try to explain it. The so-crazy-he's-supersane scientist ignored the question.
      "What, how are we even breathing?"
      "An excellent question, but not even remotely the point."
    • Lampshaded in an episode of Ben 10: Omniverse, where after boarding a derelict spaceship Ben takes off his helmet without bothering to check whether there's still atmosphere. His new partner Rook asks how he knew it would be okay, and Ben just responds that it's never been a problem in the past.
  • The very first episode of Biker Mice from Mars had this trope. When the mice are being pursued by Plutarkians, Vinnie gets up and opens a door on the side of their spacecraft and leans out to fire a bazooka at the Plutarkian ship. And it's quite clear that there's no airlock or anything like that.
  • Catscratch has the cats doing this in the premiere. Given that Doug TenNapel wrote it, you shouldn't be surprised.
  • In the DC Animated Universe (particularly Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League), there is a general consensus that even metahumans can't breathe without oxygen — even Superman uses a Space suit or at least breathing gear. Batman, however, has snuck onto the Watchtower without the use of teleporters or shuttles, when it was in orbit. That's just how Batman rolls. He could be behind you right now.
  • Danger Mouse: In "The Other Day the Earth Stood Still", the villain causes Earth to lose its gravity, and all unattached objects and people float off into space. Nobody has any trouble breathing.
  • Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines: After an unsuccessful stint in the Pacific theater on an isolated island (episode "Have Plane, Will Travel"), the Vulture Squadron gets transferred the moon, where they seem to do fine without any proper apparatus.
  • 'In the DuckTales (1987) episode "Where No Duck Has Gone Before", Launchpad accidentally dumps himself into outer space when he opens the wrong door. Not only can he breathe, but he can also talk.
  • DuckTales (2017): Della Duck is able to breathe on the Moon by chewing Oxy Chew (the gum that provides oxygen while you chew!) Gyro had invented. Unfortunately, it only comes in one flavor.
    "Ugh, black licorice!"
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy has the three main characters launched into space twice. The only problem they experience is the height.
  • The Fairly OddParents:
    • In one episode, the main characters were floating in space with no suit and breathing. When Timmy asked how this was possible, he was told this was a TV Show. Specifically, a Show Within a Show based on Space Ghost.
    • In one of the Oh Yeah! Cartoons shorts, Cosmo accidentally sneezes the Turner house into space, and Timmy and his parents have no trouble breathing. This was usually averted in the show itself.
  • Family Guy:
    • In a scene from "Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story", Peter becomes an astronaut and accidentally ejects himself from his suit and into space, but has no problem breathing.
    • In "Blue Harvest", Peter (Han Solo) tries to fit a couch into the Millennium Falcon as he and the rest of the gang are escaping the Death Star, but it gets stuck in the access hatch. He decides to just hold onto the end of the couch on the outside of the ship until they're out of danger and is more concerned with how they're piloting.
  • In the 1950's Felix the Cat cartoon "Venus and the Master Cylinder" (and in other cartoons in the series set in space), both Felix and Professor have no problem breathing or talking whenever they're launched into the vacuum of space, nor do they have any problems whenever they set foot on the moon.
  • Fireball XL5: Need to breathe in space? Take an oxygen pill. No spacesuit necessary. Lasts for hours.
  • Futurama is fine with its cast talking in space. Then again, in a series where vessels can easily travel between galaxies despite not travelling faster than light (because the speed of light was increased) and the Planet Express ship specifically travels by moving the universe around it, this isn't that unusual.
    • In Into The Wild Green Yonder the Planet Express ship crashes into a space station through a massive glass window. When it backs up and reverses out, there's nothing holding the air in place.
  • In an episode of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, one of the Joes improvises a spacesuit out of a glass jar, some plastic trash bags, rubber bands, and determination.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy typically plays this straight, but in "Wishbones" Rule of Funny dictates that during Skarr's wish, the statue of himself rising out of the ground under him extends in height until it reaches outside Earth's atmosphere, after which he suffocates and suffers Explosive Decompression.
  • League of Super Evil: Skullosus tangles with a military guy over a cold ray, succeeds, and retreats to his space station. Shortly thereafter, the military guy, with no space-suit, pops up in the base. He got there by the helicopter hovering just outside the window, and Skullosus incredulously points out that should be impossible:
    "Helicopters in space? How does that even work?!"
    "No time to quibble over logic!"
  • Several Looney Tunes shorts (primarily in the The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show / The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show show the characters doing this, particularly Bugs Bunny in the Marvin the Martian Episodes, and Daffy Duck as Duck Dodgers. Even Porky Pig and Sylvester could survive in space after a flying saucer takes them into space on top of the spacecraft, having cut out underneath their campsite.
  • In Megas XLR, the protagonists must be able to breathe in space, because there's no way that car-head is air-tight.
  • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse shows us that the mouse can breathe in space. Batman was SO 1939...
  • Several installments of Mighty Mouse in all three variations (Terrytoons, Filmation, Bakshi) have the hero in space, usually on the moon where he either lives or is seen reclining.
  • In the Mixels episode "Mixel Moon Madness", the Infernites and two Nixels are seen breathing perfectly fine on the Mixel Moon. Lampshaded later on:
    Naut: That dome is the only thing between us and the hideous vacuum of space!
    Flamzer: Uh, weren't we just walking around out there?
    [Naut glares at Flamzer]
    Flamzer: Sorry.
  • Invoked and lampshaded in ¡Mucha Lucha!. One episode had the protagonists travelling to Mars, wearing nothing but their leotards:
    Rikochet: So, that whole "no air" thing?
    Buena Girl: Don't even go there.
  • The New Adventures of Superman episodes.
    • "Prehistoric Pterodactyls". The title creatures breathe just fine while Superman was taking them unprotected through space to another planet.
    • "The Robot of Riga". Superman carries Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane through space unprotected while returning them to Earth from the planet Riga. The odd thing is that the episode had already established that the Rigans had spaceships (that's how Jimmy and Lois reached Riga in the first place), so it could have shown him taking them back in one.
  • This is done in the Out of the Inkwell cartoon "A Trip to Mars", where both Max Fleischer and Koko fly off to the moon, with no oxygen masks.
  • Phineas and Ferb tends to flip-flop depending on the situation. In "Rollercoaster", the rollercoaster car accidentally flies into space, passes over a satellite, and is ablaze during reentry, but the kids show no discomfort from lack of air, and Phineas casually remarks that they should've charged a higher admission. Conversely, in "Out To Launch", everyone is wearing space suits whenever they're outside safe environments. (The Milkshake Bar asteroid explicitly has an Earth-like atmosphere, despite its size.) Also, in "Unfair Science Fair Redux", Candace has no problem hanging out on Mars in only her regular casualwear.
  • PJ Masks: Anytime the characters visit the moon, the villain Luna Girl has no trouble breathing while there even without a space suit, oxygen tank etc, unlike the other characters who do need helmets. Her Luna Magnet grants her this ability. Later seasons introduce Motsuki, and Newton Star, who also have this power (Newton's biography on the official PJ Masks website even namedrops the trope).
  • In The Powerpuff Girls, the girls frequently end up in space for one reason or another, and have no trouble breathing, talking, shouting, or, in The Movie, hearing screams and gasps from the Earth while on an asteroid. Depending on the Writer: in one episode they did have spacesuits on.
  • The X-Men travel to Asteroid M for The Climax of Pryde of the X-Men. One review notes, "Space was a lot different way back then. Breathing devices and spacesuits were optional."
  • In Ready Jet Go!, Sean and Sydney, two human kids, can breathe in space, even without spacesuits with oxygen tanks.
  • When we first see Rocky and Bullwinkle in the debut story arc "Jet Formula," they are standing on the moon with no survival apparatus. They went there to retrieve their stove (Bullwinkle: "We still owe two payments on it") which got blown up there by the first layer of a highly combustible triple-layer cake batter. The second layer got the two to the moon in a homemade rocket and the third layer brought them back.
  • In the Sam & Max: Freelance Police episode "Bad Day On The Moon", Sam and Max are able to breathe on the moon (which has no atmosphere) without special equipment, Max shrugs it off by saying "I guess those prissy paranoid astronauts didn't have the spine to try it." Given that the characters reach the moon by driving there in a 1960 Desoto convertible, this is not that surprising.
    • The episode was adapted from the comic of the same name, where the line is "those candy-butt astronauts didn't have the stones to try it."
    • The ability to breathe on the moon isn't even Hand Waved for the game Bright Side of the Moon, which provides the page image.
  • In The Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo Show short "Close Encounters Of A Strange Kind" Scooby, Scrappy, and Shaggy can breathe in space with no problem.
  • After defeating Yellow Pinky in an outer space mission, Secret Squirrel and Morocco Mole accidentally blow up their spacecraft. Until headquarters can send up a vehicle to retrieve them, the two consign themselves to playing checkers while floating about in space with no breathing apparatus.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Mocked relentlessly while they watch an old black and white sci-fi movie. "Space air, leaking in!" "Put on your space breathing goggles, everyone!"
    • Discussed in "Pokey Mom." While Homer is recovering from a back injury from being gored at the prison rodeo, he talks to the warden about a prisoner's painting of a unicorn in space.
      Warden: He painted a unicorn in outer space! So I'm askin' you, what's he breathin'?!
      Homer: Air.
      Warden: There's no air in space!
      Homer: There's an Air & Space museum.
  • Space Ghost:
    • The title character, unless he's an actual ghost (and wouldn't need to breathe), but it's never been clear whether he is one or not (a possible explanation is that it's all in the suit). As lampshaded in Space Ghost Coast to Coast:
      Michael Norman: You're not sure how you became a ghost, are you really a ghost, are you sort of making this up as you go along?
      Zorak: [stifles a laugh]
      Space Ghost: I... uhh... what, you think I'm lying?
      Michael Norman: Do you require oxygen?
      Space Ghost: Um... no.
      Michael Norman: Well, then, I suppose you're not a living thing.
      Space Ghost: Um... Oh! I mean, yes! I do! I do require oxygen!
      Michael Norman: [sighs]
      Space Ghost: Um, I mean, no I don't?
      [cut to commercial]
    • Space Ghost's sidekicks Jan, Jace and Blip can also breathe in space with no problems. So can most of the alien opponents they encounter.
  • Used frequently in Super Friends. Actually, usually only Superman went into space without breathing equipment. Nonetheless, the other Super-Friends were able to survive with just fishbowl helmets. Oh, and Space was Noisy.
  • ThunderCats (1985):
    • ThunderCats don't bother about breathing gear either when they venture into space. And they don't even bother handwaving it... suppose it could have to do with their magic/tech catsuits?
    • One humor fic had fun with this, with Jaga, during his long sojourn piloting the ship all alone, becomes suicidal and throws open an airlock... only to be flummoxed by discovering that ThunderCats can apparently breathe in space. (Tigra makes an editorial comment about how he hadn't noticed before, but that they can and it's really weird.)
    • Not even just the cats. Mandora may have been a gynoid, but Captain Bragg and his circus, and when he hauls the Lunattacks and Mutants to Exile Island (an asteroid with its own problems).
    • Space works even more weirdly in SilverHawks, by the same creators. There's air, gravity, and night and day by virtue of switching on a gigantic light on a schedule.
  • In Tiny Planets, the heroes don't seem to have trouble breathing as they zip between planets in their open-topped space craft. And in the title sequence they pass an asteroid far too small to hold an atmosphere which nevertheless has a trio of aliens living on it.
  • In Tom and Jerry, Tom shows this ability in a few cartoons. This is a show where he can also jet through the air and come apart like a multistage rocket.
  • When the characters in VeggieTales are in space, they wear space outfits. Yet they can breathe without it (eg. Jimmy and Jerry Gourd in their debut story, Veggies in Space). This also counts for the Netflix series.
  • On an early episode of The Venture Bros. Brock Sampson got sucked into the vacuum of space for a good 10 minutes before he was rescued. He survives fine.
  • Wallace & Gromit can breathe just fine on the moon in "A Grand Day Out". They don't exhibit weightlessness in outer space either. A ball Wallace kicks into the air strangely does though.
  • The friends of Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! can breathe in space without incident.
  • Yogi's Space Race is just one of countless examples, but Huckleberry Hound actually revels in this. He can be found on the top of his and Quack-Up's racer relaxing and trying to get a tan (Huck even mentions this in the first episode, saying that since they'll be passing "the Sun", that he wanted to take the opportunity)!
  • Young Samson & Goliath episode "Moon Rendezvous". Kunev Khan flies his rocket ship to the Moon with the title characters as stowaways. After arriving, Kunev Khan, Samson and Goliath cheerfully walk around in the Moon's near-vacuum with no side effects at all. And Samson and Goliath's superpowers don't explain it: they exposed themselves to the non-existent atmosphere before they changed to their super-powered forms.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Space Air, Breathing In Space, Surviving Exposure To Vacuum, Super Vacuum Survival Power, Super Vacuum Exposure Survival Power, Super Vacuum Resistance Power


Sonic can breathe in Space

As pointed out by Brendan Blaber, Sonic can't breathe in water...but he can breathe in space, because there's no water.

How well does it match the trope?

4 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / BatmanCanBreatheInSpace

Media sources:

Main / BatmanCanBreatheInSpace