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Continuous Decompression

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53. A hole the size of a barn is made in the hull of a space ship; decompression of the ship's atmosphere takes a half minute or so.
54. A hole the size of a dime is made in the hull of a space ship; decompression of the ship's atmosphere takes a half minute or so.

In Real Life, the rate of decompression correlates positively with the pressure differential and inversely to time taken to equalize. In layman's terms, decompression is usually either violent but quick (if the pressure differential and/or the hole is large) or slow but gentle (if the pressure differential and/or the hole is small).

Not so in fiction. If a hole were to appear in a ship, it will always be violent and lengthy, where a constant wind will appear and attempt to blow the entire contents of the room out into the sky or space until the hole is sealed once more. The other factor that will cause the wind to stop - internal and external pressure reaching equilibrium - never seems to happen. One common variation is for the wind to be just strong enough to make people's clothes flutter but just weak enough not to actually blow them over — unless they have the unfortunate chance of being the bad guy or a Red Shirt, that is.

Even with works that get the decompression part accurate, going for a slow gentle depiction (violent quick ones seems to be eschewed presumably as it can't be Played for Drama as easily), they'll tend to misportray how the characters will still be able to breathe - as air leaks out, the air pressure inside decreases and characters should start to suffer from hypoxia.

However, sometimes this trope is justified. If the enclosed space is relatively large while the hole is comparatively small, but not small for the average person, it can take hours until all the air rushes out while maintaining the Hollywood standard of heavy rushing winds. A Colony Ship and ships of comparable, miles-long size are a good example. This can also be the case if pressurization is being maintained by continuously blowing in more air, which also happens to cover the lack of hypoxia since the pressure will remain the same in this case.

Often occurs when somebody or something is Thrown Out the Airlock. Our hero may be required to Seal the Breach.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Gundam franchise uses this a lot. Sometimes it's justified (an Island 3 space colony holds around 1,600 cubic kilometers of air), and sometimes it's less so (Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team has a room in a Magellan-class battleship decompressing for a ridiculous amount of time). Usually, the really worrisome holes in colonies are caused by mobile suits' nuclear reactors explodingnote ; some later machines use an adhesive spray to seal up smaller holes, and in Gundam F91 the bad guys have developed a weapon specifically to avoid causing a reactor detonation.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam, a Federation soldier is shown pulling a lever to open a compartment filled with pink balloons that float towards the breech and burst, sealing it.

    Fan Works 
  • During a segment of Legacy of ch'Rihan set in the aftermath of the Hobus supernova, a massive hull breach opens on the bridge of the IRW Albintian and the communications officer is sucked out before the emergency force fields can engage.
  • In Origins, the Normandy SR-2.5 suffers an airlock breach from outside. Mass effect fields kick in and there's only a slight movement of air prior to that, averting the trope entirely.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Averted in Blood Red Sky. When a window is broken by a stray gunshot, the plane depressurizes near-instantly and a terrorist is pulled towards it, but the sucking quickly stops and with all the air gone, everyone is able to move normally to scramble for oxygen masks. Later when the cargo bay door is blown off, they are already flying low because of the earlier decompression, so it has little effect.
  • A running theme in the Alien Franchise:
    • Alien and Aliens feature this during the final Thrown Out the Airlock scenes. Aliens has the more dramatic touch where a little girl is about to be blown out of the spaceship, but Bishop manages to grab onto her.
    • In Alien: Resurrection, the monster is not simply shoved bodily out of an airlock, but blown into the vacuum of space through a small broken port window. It was not pretty.
  • Naturally, Galaxy Quest had to have this trope.
    • Strangely enough, it was ALMOST justified: the living quarters were being decompressed as a form of torture. The wind actually died down as the pressure started dropping too low, although it was going too slowly to cause THAT much wind, and didn't kick up again until they broke the seal into the still-pressurized hallway.
    • There's also the part where the rock monster trashed a pack of the bad guys and ended it with busting clear through the wall of the ship; you see an external shot with a bunch of stuff flying off after them but no sign of that particular hallway afterward, so it's hard to tell if it's subverted or played straight.
  • During a Dream Sequence in Apollo 13, the door on the capsule opens during transit to the moon. The astronauts cling to the capsule against the wind for much longer than it would take to let all of the air out. (But then, it was a nightmare).
  • A pressure dome on Mars breaks in the original Total Recall (1990) and the resulting storm is enough to pick people up and fling them through the hole. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger has to cling to a railing as if he was inside a tornado. Although that includes air rushing from other parts of the large interconnected colony, not a single room.
  • An inversion and aversion can be found in The Abyss. When an entire windshield of a minisub at the bottom of the ocean cracks as it uncontrollably descends into the abyss it implodes immediately. When there is a small crack in the hull of another minisub at its normal operating depth, it slowly fills with water, albeit higher than the level of the crack.
  • The Cloverfield Paradox
    • A variation when Tam is trapped in an airlock filling with water; the water pressure buckles the outer hatch, but instead of everything being Thrown Out the Airlock the water flash-freezes; Tam along with it. The hatch should have buckled even further since water decreases in density and expands as it freezes (this is why water ice floats on top of liquid water and why bottles explode if frozen.)
    • During a Gun Struggle between Jensen and Ava, a bullet is fired through the space station window. Jensen is sucked up against it momentarily sealing the breach, but then the glass cracks and she is blown out into space.
  • After Crow breaches the hull in the pre-movie segment of Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie, the entire room starts uncontrollably decompressing until Tom Servo is blown against the hole - and is just wide enough to plug it up, as it so happens. Immediately after, Mike pulls him out and casually puts Crow's WWI helmet over the hole.
  • Happens in the first action scene of Royal Warriors, when Michelle fights a henchman on an airplane in mid-flight and caused her opponent's head to go through an already broken window. Unlike most examples though, only his head gets sucked out while his body gets stuck from the shoulders, where he suffocates from the exposure (and his corpse remains on its spot for the rest of the flight until touchdown).
  • Snakes on a Plane: When Agent Flynn shoots out a window, the compression is powerful enough to destroy part of the wall and lasts long enough to suck every single snake out of the plane.
  • The sci-fi B-Movie Missile to the Moon ends with the Lady Land society on the Moon being destroyed this way. Apparently no-one bothered to build automatically-sealing internal doors for such an emergency.
  • Played realistically in Gravity. An astronaut has to open an airlock quickly to take shelter from an oncoming cloud of space debris; the hatch slams open from the sudden outrush of air, nearly breaking her grip on the handle.
  • Played somewhat realistically in Mission to Mars. The ship is holed by a shower of micro-meteoroids causing the ship to decompress. The holes are small enough that the wind currents produced are subtle and it takes several minutes for the atmosphere inside to become too thin to breathe. In any case, one of the astronauts quickly and methodically goes from breach to breach sealing the holes so the rest of their air doesn't escape.
  • World War Z has a scene where a grenade is set off in an airplane, during an outbreak of zombies so it really was the best idea at the time, the resulting hole manages to blow out everybody but the two characters that threw the grenade and strapped in. The plane crashes as a result of this, but the film does at least show one of the engines was damaged in the explosion.
  • In Revenge of the Sith, General Grievous deliberately shatters a window on his ship to escape from Obi-Wan and Anakin. The Jedi are left clinging for life until some emergency shutters activate, while Grievous (whose life support suit lets him breathe in space) uses a Grappling-Hook Pistol to climb the outer hull.
  • Airport:
    • Airport is probably the Trope Codifier, at least for its use in films. When the mentally unhinged passenger sets off his suitcase bomb in the aircraft bathroom and blows a hole in the side of the jet, the decompression is severe enough to suck him out of the hole and, and wreak havoc the whole length of the passenger compartment. The explosion also blows the bathroom door out into the walkway, preventing it from being closed to partially seal the breach, and damages the rudder hydraulics. (You can see it here, starting at about 1:25.)
    • Discussed earlier in the movie, with one character claiming that once decompression starts, all the air and anything it can take with it will go out that hole. Unlike most mentions of Continuous Decompression involving airplanes, it's also explained the pilot can dive down to reach air at an equal pressure.
  • Invoked Trope in Sunshine. Capa is locked in Icarus Two's airlock, so he burns a hole in the inside door with an oxy torch (kept in the airlock as part of the EVA repair kit), then straps himself in a spacesuit to the wall and fires the explosive bolts in the outside door. The force of the air inside the spaceship trying to escape through the small hole is enough to wrench the inside door off its hinges.
  • The HBO movie By Dawn's Early Light (1990). During World War III a B-52 crewman goes insane and activates his Ejection Seat, blowing everyone but the two pilots out of the aircraft.
  • Avengers: Infinity War: Iron Man and Spider-Man blow a hole in Ebony Maw's ship (with Spidey downright using Aliens, mentioned above, as an inspiration), causing him to get sucked into space. The continuous wind then endangers the heroes, Spider-Man having to catch Doctor Strange and both being nearly blown out too if not for the Spider Limbs of Peter's suit. Stark has to close the breach with his suit's tech to keep everything else from being sent outside. Can be justified by the large size of the ship, and the fact it seems to have lots of empty space inside.
  • There's a double version in the 2022 South Korean action movie Carter. A Rogue Agent is fighting the title character in the pressurized cargo compartment, and blows a hole in the bulkhead to apparently blow him out the airplane. A short time later a group of people who are unaware of this smash down the pressure door from the passenger area, and the sudden rush of air from the passenger compartment sends them flying through the blast hole. As they fly past, we see the hero desperately holding onto the edge. He has to let go however when the rogue activates another bomb to destroy the airplane. Cue Free-Fall Fight.

  • Robert A. Heinlein:
    • Played quite realistically in the book Farmer in the Sky. During the trip to Ganymede, a bit of space junk penetrates the hull of the Mayflower in the dorm compartment where the protagonist and twenty other boys happen to be staying. The hole is explicitly only the size of his fist, and after the automatic failsafes seal off the compartment (locking the boys into the decompressing room), he's able to plug it with one of their foam-rubber pillows.
    • In the Heinlein story Gentlemen, Be Seated, an accident causes a small hole in a tunnel being dug on a Moon base, and the protagonists have to sit on the hole to seal it. This isn't as funny as it sounds as there's a danger of the person doing so passing out from internal hemorrhage or hypothermia. The workers normally have sticky balloons that float towards a breach and burst, both sealing the hole and marking it so someone can come later and weld it up, but the hole is too big in this case.
  • In Conspiracies, a gateway into another dimension opens up in a basement and starts sucking in everything around it, air included. The effects are portrayed realistically, right up to a character shackled near the gateway feeling his eardrums suffer as the air pressure drops, then recover when the windows break and new air is drawn into the cellar.
  • The climax of the Fighting Fantasy gamebook, Stormslayer, which has the hero battling the weather-controlling wizard, Balthazar Sturm, on board his Cool Airship. At the conclusion of the duel, Sturm ends up getting sucked out through the ship's windows to his death.
  • Usually played realistically in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. The atmosphere leaves a little craft pretty much instantly.
    • In Solo Command a flagship's viewport is blown out, and there are a few moments where surviving crew can try to crawl to safety before the bridge is automatically sealed to prevent total atmosphere loss.
    • A space station in Galaxy of Fear takes a minute before it's totally vacuum.
    • When someone shoots a hole in the hull of Star of Empire, in Galaxy of Fear, atmosphere starts venting. Someone manages to plug the hole with something larger, keeping it there via air pressure, but the characters know it isn't sealed and after escaping the room they have it sealed off.
  • Justified in The Atrocity Archive, where the sucking hole is a hole in reality, working on sucking Earth's entire atmosphere through an interdimensional portal to an alternate Earth where the atmosphere has frozen solid after the Jotunheimr sucked all the heat out of its home universe.
  • In Ringworld, the titular structure has a hole in it with air continuously leaking out into space. It creates a huge storm that looks like an eye from the side. However, given how incredibly huge Ringworld is, it would take a long time for all air to leak out. Word of God is that the erosion caused by the resulting superstorms would end all life on the ring long before that, though. There is another hole in the ring, caused by a meteorite impacting the outer section, creating a mountain on the inner side with a hole at the top. However, the mountain (and the hole) is above the atmosphere, so the leaking from this is negligible.
  • Played in The Fold when the fold makes contact with a vacuum and starts draining the atmosphere of the Earth.
  • Airport: The book the film was based on. While the decompression is unrealistically explosive and violent, the decompression itself tapers off as the pilot Demerest rushes back to the cockpit to get the plane down to where the atmosphere is breathable.
  • Laszlo Hadron and the Wargod's Tomb: When Laszlo tries opening the Durendal's hangar door and disabling its Containment Field in order to escape,it results in this until the crew can get things back under control.
  • Ciaphas Cain: The final battle in Choose Your Enemies takes place on an orbital station, specifically a level under a dome to give the usual occupants a nice view. When a battleship puts a lance battery shot through the dome, Cain describes the resulting venting as whipping his coat around and roaring loudly, but Amberley tells him there's no danger.
    A space this size will take ages to depressurize through a hole that small.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek is a big offender of this, especially in the modern series.
    • But averted in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation: when Geordi and Dr. Crusher depressurize a cargo bay to (a) put out a plasma fire and (b) get rid of some hazardous material, the wind lasted only a very short time. After that, the trick was repressurizing the bay before they passed out from anoxia. Although Dr. Crusher gave horrible advice by telling Geordi to hold his breath. In reality, holding your breath in vacuum would rupture your lungs. The right advice is to hyperventilate in advance to superoxygenate your bloodstream (which the two are seen doing), then exhale fully when decompression occurs.
    • TNG actually used this as a solution to the problem of the week twice. In one episode, when stuck in a "Groundhog Day" Loop that ended in their deaths by way of spaceship collision, the solution was to vent the shuttlebay and push themselves forward, to avert an angled collision. In another, it was used to try to force an alien lifeform to stop feeding on the ship, which failed.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine did something similar in "Covenant". Dukat opens an airlock to kill a Bajoran woman. While the decompression lasts far longer than it should for a roughly 3 cubic meter room, it does cut off before the door finishes opening, leaving her to suffocate on the floor.
    • In Star Trek: Enterprise, TNG's magic force field that lets ships go through but not air has not been invented, so when a bad guy takes his leave while Archer is still in the shuttle bay, he must deal with this. However, more realistically than most examples (including other Star Trek examples), the fact that there's less and less air and pressure in the open shuttle bay every second is very much a problem.
  • Done in Fringe. A saboteur on a Zeppelin is blown out of a hole ripped in the canvas outer hull near the keel. Anyone who knows anything about airships would tell you that Zeppelins are not pressurized in the first place (high-altitude War Zeppelins in World War I used oxygen canisters and thick furs instead), and indeed it would be nearly impossible to do so for an entire Zeppelin airship, or even just the passenger decks, which on that type of aircraft are MASSIVE. Of course, the Zeppelin was an LSD-induced hallucination, but still. Olivia's airship knowledge sucks.
  • Not averted in Ron Moore's pilot movie Virtuality, though — in fact, this is one of the worst examples of all. A character is caught inside a small airlock when the outer hatch opens and is buffeted by a huge torrent of wind for a couple of minutes before the other characters can shut the door. Where was all the replacement air coming from???
  • Doctor Who:
    • In early story "The Moonbase", which also features the subtrope of characters struggling to seal the hole as the air rushes out. One fan actually did the calculations to see how long it should have actually taken for decompression to happen. The results were something on the order of a few seconds. The scene in the episode lasted much longer, obviously.
    • In "Enlightenment", Turlough is locked in a small chamber when the protective force field is deactivated letting the air escape to space. It takes several minutes for the Doctor to find Turlough, during which time it is still slowly evacuating though the hole is quite large and the room is quite small. Ironically it is also an example of Explosive Decompression since when Turlough is rescued, he says "I would have exploded in the vacuum of space."
  • When a plane is ripped opened in the third season of Heroes, air is continually blown out of the plane until it crashes about ten minutes later. (Probably due to the turbulence from the incredible windspeed outside the craft.)
  • Firefly:
    • In "Out of Gas", Mal used this to put out a fire in Serenity's engine room. This is much more plausible because a fire merely needs to run out of oxygen to go out, and sealing/venting the room will help the fire use up all the oxygen, putting it out before it can damage too much equipment. Chemical fire retardants (e.g. the stuff in the red canisters and the stuff used for chemical fires) actually smother fires to put them out in real life, too!
    • In "Our Mrs. Reynolds", Jayne shoots out the viewport of an energy net-equipped space station to kill the crew. He explicitly asks Mal earlier if Mal wants him to shoot the window and Mal says it'd kill some folk, but wouldn't save the ship - so after Jayne saves the ship by shooting the arc projectors, he shoots the window to kill the people responsible for them.
    • In "Objects in Space," Mal expresses worry about River grabbing a gun that's been left out and shooting it, which would rupture the hull and kill everyone. Jayne replies that a bullet from a pistol is too small and the lead is too soft and that it would barely breach the hull at all, let alone make a rupture large enough to kill anyone.
  • The "remaining air" part is often ignored in the live-action marionette series, Thunderbirds, most notably in The Vault of Death where the worker trapped inside would certainly have died from anoxia long before he could be rescued if not for Fictional Physics which dictate that a person doesn't die until all the air runs out.
  • In the Supernatural episode "Phantom Traveler" (S01, Ep04), there is a continuous wind after the airplane door is opened by a demon.
  • The New Avengers: In "Trap", Steed, Gambit, and Purdey are on a plane when the main cabin starts filling with gas. Gambit opens the main door to depressurize the cabin and suck out the gas. The depressurization goes on for long enough for the pilot to get out of the cockpit and still be sucked out of the plane.
  • In an episode of Seven Days, Parker has to Backstep into orbit in order to keep a Space Station from breaking up on re-entry and contaminating the atmosphere. While he's aboard the station, one of the compartments is punctured, resulting in an astronaut being thrown towards the small hole and plugging it in. Parker and the other astronaut try to save him, only for him to tell them to get out and seal him in, as his body is the only thing temporarily keeping the air from rushing out, and he can already feel the hole expanding.
  • Red Dwarf: The end of "Legion" has the crew attempt to wire a more advanced stardrive into Starbug's existing engines. The drive takes off on its own and punches out through the ship's hull, resulting in the usual hurricane, with the crew being pulled across the floor.
  • The Expanse:
    • Early in the first season, most of the protagonists are sitting in a room on a ship while a railgun blows a hole in the wall about the size of a human head. Between the size of the hole relative to the size of the room, and the short amount of time for the crew to react, they are able to block the hole before losing consciousness, but one character loses his head anyway.
    • Averted in another episode, in which a character is spaced in a small airlock and doesn't even budge.
    • Once again averted in another episode. A character locked inside a sealed container with a portable pressurization device pokes a small hole in the door. It takes a while before the character begins suffering from hypoxia. She is discovered in the container via the leaking air and given an injection to hyperoxygenate her blood and save her life.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Debbie Harry episode of The Muppet Show has this in the "Pigs in Space" sketch, when a small meteor holes the Swinetrek and everything gets sucked towards the hole. The breach is sealed first with Piggy's face, and then with Hogthrob's. The fairly obvious flaw with this is ignored for Rule of Funny.

    Video Games 
  • The Callisto Protocol plays it straight in several scenes where seemingly endless amounts of air violently blow people around despite it being obvious that it should have run out within a few seconds.
  • Dead Space
    • Opening an airlock will cause a few seconds of windy turbulence (which is not how airlocks work), but later an entire deck has its atmosphere vented into space with a minimum of fuss. While it can be understandable that internal doors to damaged sections might leak air, this also happens with doors designed to lead into space. The fact that Isaac and Kendra are hacking the doors and the damage to the ship might explain some things.
    • There are fragile windows in Dead Space 2 that when broken will blow enemies out into space and Isaac will be dragged along. He has to shoot an emergency switch above the opening before he's crushed by the bulkhead closing to seal off the hazard.
  • Desert Breaker have this happening as you try forcing your way into a military plane belonging to the enemy by blowing a hole through the back hatch. Cue dozens and dozens of enemy soldiers as well as Hamachidoris falling out the hole you just opened, to a drop several hundreds of meters below, and while you can take random potshots at falling objects for points you'll spend most of the level trying to get aboard without colliding with obstacles.
  • The Halo series averts this, with the games depicting airlocks cycling realistically, and the books at least not mentioning a wind when decompression is involved.
  • Opening an airlock in Heavenly Bodies without closing the door to the rest of the station will cause air to rapidly be pulled out into space with the force of a great hurricane wind. The supply's oxygen supply never runs out and the massive wind will keep blowing until you close either of the doors you should have kept closed in the first place.
  • The final challenge in Conker's Bad Fur Day features Conker in a life-or-death battle with a xenomorph-like alien on a spaceship (long story). Near the start of the fight, Conker has to blow the airlock, producing a constant state of decompression as air keeps rushing out. This decompression lasts the entire battle, no matter how long it takes (and even if you pull it off quickly, it's still more than a bit absurd), and has to use said decompression to throw the alien out. The ship's onboard computer helpfully reminds him of this fact.
  • Justified in Portal 2. When Chell opens a portal on the moon, there is a continuous decompression effect until the portal is shut. Spaceships and the like may have a limited volume of air, but this portal has to equalize the pressure of an entire planetary atmosphere. Blowing out this much air takes lots of time, far more time than the portal is open for.
  • Subverted for what the Star Fissure does at the end of Riven. For one thing, it's an anomaly in the Age itself that opens to a void that has air in it, and just looks like a vacuum because of how badly Gehn wrote the Age. He lampshades this in his journal but is too egotistical to think he is at fault. This is proven later in Uru where the same Fissure appears in Relto, but has no vacuum effect.
  • Averted in Space Station 13 on those servers using more realistic atmospheric simulation models.
  • In Star Command, a powerful hit near the outer hull of your ship will, most likely, result in a hull breach. As long as your Deflector Shields are down, the air will appear to be rushing out. However, none of your crew will suffer any ill effects as long as they're not near the hole. Anyone near the hole will get instantly blown out into space. This includes enemy boarding parties that beam in at intervals when your shields are down.
  • Played completely straight in Sonic Adventure 2, during most of the many missions aboard the ARK, certain portions of the space station can be blown out and you yourself can be blown into the void... and not one mention goes to what would happen if you just stood there... waiting for the air to be blown out of the entire station.
  • One of the first tasks in Mission Critical is to repair a hole in one of the quarters leading out into space as a result of the battle in the intro. The hole is fairly small and easy to fix. When you enter the room, you see a horizontal twister of sorts but don't actually suffer any ill effects. In fact, this is one of the Take Your Time "critical" tasks, although the computer makes it clear that the door is only holding for now; since it's not a pressure fitting, it will give way sooner or later, hence its decision to seal off the deck to contain the pressure leak when the door finally fails.
  • Averted in Warframe. Shooting out windows on Corpus ships will make the air rush out, but the doors will lock to keep the depressurization from spreading, though we still have the odd part about how everyone and everything remains planted to the floor. There are armored bulkheads that can seal off the leaks, but the player has to manually activate them.
  • Averted in FTL: Faster Than Light: Rooms exposed directly to space (i.e. usually open airlocks) will depressurize instantly, but adjacent rooms whose doors are open will depressurize at a slower rate depending on how far they are from the outside of the ship. Rooms whose doors are closed will not depressurize at all unless they receive a bulkhead breach, and rooms with a bulkhead breach will depressurize at a moderately steady rate regardless of whether they're open to space.
  • In Mass Effect, the Codex discusses this. There's no continuous wind from a decompression. Instead, there's two general sizes of hull breach: one that is small enough that the crew can easily get to a pressurized compartment, or one so large that everyone in the compartment will be dead within moments. The opening of Mass Effect 2 shows this happen to the Normandy when an unknown ship suddenly attacks it and blasts a big hole through the bridge: most of the bridge crew is killed outright, but Joker survives due to a personal force field that activates to protect him from suffocating.
  • Hardspace: Shipbreaker: If you depressurize compartments by opening the door or just removing cutting points, decompression is just a strong, constant wind blowing out everything that isn't secured, but isn't especially dire. It does take about five seconds even for small cockpits, though. If you depressurize by accident because you cut a hole in the structure, however, things take a worse turn.
  • Stellaris: When starships are destroyed, zooming in on the wreckage will reveal atmosphere venting from hull breaches, often with enough force to propel the wreckage around, for weeks on end.

    Web Comics 
  • Schlock Mercenary has it fairly realistically here, where an accident blows a 300-meter hole in the side of Credomar, a cylindrical station measuring 6 kilometers by 60. It's pointed out that it will take a while to empty the can completely, but it does need to be patched as soon as possible.

    Western Animation 
  • This happens in one episode of The Jetsons where George winds up traveling with a circus troupe. George accidentally plugs up the hole with his butt all the way until the ship lands, including during re-entry.
  • In the Darkwing Duck episode "When Aliens Collide", Darkwing's plane, the Thunderquack, smashes a hole in the side of an Outer Space Patrol ship, and when escaped criminal Wacko takes off in the Thunderquack, everyone left inside the OSP ship is in danger of being sucked out of the hole as if it were the opening of a giant vacuum cleaner.
  • In one episode of Voltron: Legendary Defender, Lance gets trapped in an airlock and it opens. He's still able to yell and cling onto the door for several seconds before Keith saves him.
  • Steven Universe: In "Can't Go Back", Lapis opens the door on the moon base so she can leave. Lion grabs Steven's hoodie to keep him from flying into space, and Steven is able to have a short conversation with Lapis before she flies away. Justified with Lapis because Gems are a space-faring species, and as such are able to breathe in space and adjust to gravity on any planet.
  • Averted in episode 7 of StarCom: The U.S. Space Force. Slim and several StarCom trainees cut a hole through the hull of a Shadow Force craft: the air stops rushing out after a few seconds.

    Real Life 
  • Soyuz 11, which sustained a leak after detaching its orbital module while preparing for re-entry, had a version of it. The breach was small enough to avoid Explosive Decompression, but it rendered the cosmonauts unconscious due to hypoxia within a few seconds, and they were dead by the time the craft landed. To date, the three crew members — Georgy Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov, and Viktor Patsayev — are the only humans to have died in space.