In space, what would kill an unprotected human first?

astronaut

Surely, there’s a good reason he’s wearing that suit…

This weekend, I was riding with some friends to a wedding about three hours from home. As the ride got longer, the conversation got more varied, and we eventually ended up wondering whether an unprotected human could survive in space for any period of time. We also wondered what would be the first thing to kill them (as opposed to the second thing to kill them) when they did eventually pass. You know, because that’s what you usually talk about on the way to weddings.

Several ideas were floated: perhaps the zero-pressure environment of space would make your body instantly explode. Perhaps you wouldn’t explode, but you would have tissue damage from expansion in your lungs, blood vessels, and pretty much anything else that traps air or liquid. Maybe you’d freeze? But then, there’s no matter to conduct heat, so maybe you wouldn’t? Alternatively, maybe you’d fry from all the radiation? There were plenty of theories.

So, what would actually happen to you? Read on to find out.

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Why do some cities have an “uptown” and others a “downtown”?

uptown charlotte

Road Sign for Uptown Charlotte, NC.

In everything from America’s biggest cities to her smallest rural towns, the central business district is called “downtown.” Except when it’s not. In some cities, the city center is referred to as “uptown.” As a North Carolinian, the city that sticks out most for the use of this bizarre term is Charlotte. If you’re going into the heart of Charlotte, you’re going to “uptown Charlotte.” Apparently, the city of Greenville, NC has also recently adopted use of the term. So, where do “uptown” and “downtown” come from? And why aren’t we being consistent? Read on to find out!

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