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This article was published on July 20, 2021

PSA: Sticking your arm into the vacuum of space would really suck

This short video shows why

PSA: Sticking your arm into the vacuum of space would really suck Image by: The Action Lab

If you’ve watched any sci-fi shows or read any books about space, then you probably know that human bodies and vacuums don’t mix well.

You’ve probably heard that all sorts of bad things happen without atmospheric pressure constantly weighing down on your flesh, not the least of which is the fact that your body will rapidly expand to about twice its size, as your skin stretched like a balloon.

Have you ever wondered what that might actually look like…. in real life?

YouTuber James Orgill, who runs the channel ‘The Action Lab,’ offers a glimpse of just that. The method was simple: he stuck his arm in a small vacuum chamber and recorded it so we could all cringe.

Fair warning: although the following video isn’t really graphic — there’s no blood or anything like that — it’s definitely not going to do anything good for your anxiety levels.

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As you can see, the experience does not look very fun. It would also likely be much worse in space, being closer to a perfect vacuum and all.

Confession time: I thought this video was new when I started writing this piece, but Orgill actually originally posted it about 4 years ago, and only recently reposted it in an abridged form on his YouTube Shorts channel. Still, I thought it was interesting/disturbing enough to be worth a share.

The original video contains some additional interesting tidbits, including an additional attempt at blowing up his arm like a balloon. Here’s how he describes the sensation:

“I could feel the blood being sucked out of my skin. The best way to describe the feeling is if you swing your arm around very quickly around for long time, but much more extreme than that. The atmospheric pressure pushes my arm into the chamber so that I felt like I was having to support a huge amount of weight.”

Some of the consequences of the short stunt:

“There is slight bruising down the center of my arm and hundreds of little red dots where there were capillaries that burst. It was a lot worse than I thought it would be! I wouldn’t want to go into space with no space suit!”

Ain’t that the truth. You can watch the full thing below:

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