Here is a definative answer from the FAQ list of sci.space: Subject: Frequently Asked Ques

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Here is a definative answer from the FAQ list of sci.space: Newsgroups: sci.space Subject: Frequently Asked Questions 12/15 - Controversial Questions HOW LONG CAN A HUMAN LIVE UNPROTECTED IN SPACE If you *don't* try to hold your breath, exposure to space for half a minute or so is unlikely to produce permanent injury. Holding your breath is likely to damage your lungs, something scuba divers have to watch out for when ascending, and you'll have eardrum trouble if your Eustachian tubes are badly plugged up, but theory predicts -- and animal experiments confirm -- that otherwise, exposure to vacuum causes no immediate injury. You do not explode. Your blood does not boil. You do not freeze. You do not instantly lose consciousness. Various minor problems (sunburn, possibly "the bends", certainly some [mild, reversible, painless] swelling of skin and underlying tissue) start after ten seconds or so. At some point you lose consciousness from lack of oxygen. Injuries accumulate. After perhaps one or two minutes, you're dying. The limits are not really known.

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