Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso

Space Vacuum Effects

  • Gerda Horneck
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_1471-4


The vacuum of interplanetary space reaches pressures down to 10−14 Pa. Within the vicinity of a body, the pressure significantly increases due to outgassing (e.g., in low Earth orbit, pressure reaches 10−6–10−4 Pa). Pressures below the vapor pressure of a certain material cause vaporization of atoms or molecules from the material’s surface. In addition to water, sealants, lubricants, and adhesives are the main substances that outgas from spacecraft. However, even metals and glasses can release gases from cracks and impurities. For biological samples in space, vacuum dehydration is the main process affecting their integrity.

See Also


Vapor Pressure Bioorganic Chemistry Biological Sample Main Process Earth Orbit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DLR German Aerospace CenterInstitute of Aerospace Medicine, Radiation Biology, Building 24, ContractorKölnGermany