Soon there may come a time when we will go on a space walk to celebrate the holidays. Blue Origin, the company of former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, has already started space tourism. His company is also taking people to visit the lower part of space by taking big money. Elon Musk has also announced to build a base on Mars through his company SpaceX. Not only this, Richard Brenson of Virgin Galactic has also announced to start his commercial spaceflight for the general public. In such a situation, the question arises that if someone dies during space travel, what will happen to his dead body?
Expert of Biological Anthropology gave the answer
This question has been answered by Tim Thompson, Dean of Health and Life Sciences at Tesseid University in Middlesbrough, England, and an expert in applied biological anthropology. He told that when a person dies on earth, his body passes through several stages of decomposition. This was mentioned in Song Si’s world’s first forensic science book ‘The Washing Away of Rangs’ in 1247.
What happens to a dead body after it dies on earth?
He told that first the bleeding stops (livor mortis) and due to gravity it starts accumulating. After this the carcass cools down and the muscles get stiff. This process is called rigor mortis. Next, the protein that accelerates the chemical reaction breaks down the cell walls and expels its contents.
Chemical reaction starts with the spread of bacteria
Simultaneously, the bacterium spreads throughout the body. They destroy the soft cells and the gas released from them causes the carcass to swell. After this, the foul smell starts coming and the soft tissues break down. This process of decomposition of the carcass is an internal factor but there are also external factors which affect the process of decomposition. They include temperature, activity of bacteria, burial or wrapping of a dead body, and the presence of fire and water. The act of mummifying the dead body takes place under conditions without water, which can be hot or cold. Without oxygen in a moist environment, conditions are created in which water can break down fat into a wax-like substance through the hydrolysis process. The waxy layer forms a covering over the skin and protects it. However, in many cases the soft tissue is eventually lost and only the skeleton remains. These hard tissues can last for thousands of years.
Such a reaction will happen with dead bodies in space
Due to the different gravity on other planets, the livor mortis phase will definitely be affected and the blood will not coagulate due to the absence of gravity while floating in space. However, the process of rigor mortis inside the spacesuit will continue. Due to which the muscles of the carcass will get tight. Microorganisms present in the soil also help in the decomposition of the carcass. However, on other planets of our solar system, insects and other carcass-eating animals do not exist. Temperature is also a major factor in the decomposition process. For example, the temperature on the Moon is 120 °C to 170 °C. From this, the effects of heat-induced changes or freezing effects of freezing can be seen in the carcasses.
[Attribution to NBT]