Trope-a-Day: Explosive Decompression

Explosive Decompression: No. Just no. (In the trope sense. Obviously it can happen in the technical sense.)

Well, with one exception. The trope quite correctly notes that it can happen if you have a really high pressure gradient, say, 8-9 atm to 1 atm. As such, some people from planets with very thick atmospheres (say, ciseflish) can suffer some serious abaryic trauma if their suit decompresses or if taken out of it – albeit rarely to the extent of literally exploding.

But whether that applies or not, it is a universal truism that sudden decompression sucks.

It’s Cold Outside

“Yeah, vacuum won’t kill you.  Should you find yourself falling free out of a big hole in your ship, stay sharp, and keep your eyes shut and your mouth open the way they teach you when you go out for your S-license, and you ought to live through it.  You’ll get a full-body bruise.  You’ll freeze slowly if you’re out there long enough – and if you’re in the sunlight, you’ll burn at the same time.  You’ll swell up from the pressure differential, and that hurts fifty times more than you ever imagined anything might hurt before, unless you’ve gone swimming naked through molten rock sometime.”

“But if you grew up anywhere half-civilized, your hemocules’ll keep you going for a good hour, a bit less if you thrash around.  Plenty of time for someone to get a line on you – or, if everyone around’s got their own problems, for that mindcast carrier you’d better have to start looking friendly.”

“…from experience, kid.  Did you think I was born with this face?”