Mia the Louisiana Yellow Lab

Death & Decomposition in Space
If you’ve ever been in close proximity to a deceased person, you would note that the body begins undergoing various changes immediately after death takes place. The most apparent changes are pallor mortis (a paleness overtaking the body) and something called lividity (also known as livor mortis). After death – when the heart is no longer able to pump blood throughout the body – gravity takes hold and the blood begins to pool in dependent portions of the body (the ones that are closer to the ground). The heavier red blood cells sink as well, forming the hallmark splotchy purple patterns attributed to livitity.
Shortly afterward, rigor mortis sets in. During this phase of decomposition, the limbs become very rigid and inflexible… kind of like the muscles that make up the body were removed and replaced with concrete. All the while, the body begins to cool rapidly, called algor mortis (the progression of this stage of decomposition can vary based on a number of factors, like location of the body, the time of year, body fat and if the person was taking any drugs or medication prior to death). A combination of the above principles help coroners determine when a person passed on and, in forensic pathology, they can help determine if a person was moved from the position in which they were found in. This, in turn, can help establish whether or not the death is suspicious in nature.
Now, while some of these post mortem changes can be rather jarring, they are merely a small window of what’s to come. After the effects of pallor mortis, livor mortis, algor mortis and rigor mortis set in and dissipate (typically lasting for several days), bacterium take hold of the situation. Then things start to become messy. First, saprobic bacteria get to work, eating away at the remnants of internal organs (most are now in the initial stages of the putrefaction process, during which enzymes and anaerobic bacteria break up internal organ piece-by-piece, causing them to liquify), tissue and muscle. In the process, this creates the acid and gases that cause the body to bloat and smell. Some of it exits the body through various orifices, while the bulk of it builds up steadily, until the skin ruptures. At that point, the deceased becomes virtually unrecognizable (not that you would want to get close enough to scope it out on your own).
The horror is far from over (though the worst of it is), but I’ll spare you the rest, as I know that this is far from a comfortable subject to discuss. I do have a good reason for bringing all of this up though; to highlight the fact that bacteria plays a large role in the decomposition process. Here on Earth, we have many methods of delaying the full effects from manifesting (namely embalming - where we drain a person of their blood, replacing it instead with a cocktail of different chemicals; including formaldehyde ), at least long enough for friends and family to say goodbye during a viewing.
In space, a few different scenarios can play out. First, we have death and decomposition without a space suit. In this scenario – without an internal source of heat – the body will likely freeze solid pretty quickly, putting “from dust to dust” on hold indefinitely. In fact, we don’t actually know how long it would take a body to decompose entirely this way. So, it’s conceivable that the body could last forever, or at least a really damn long time (that is, assuming the body never ventures too close to a star, black hole or other celestial body).
Now, assuming death takes place within close proximity to an external source of heat (like, say, in the outermost envelop of Earth’s atmosphere, where the temperatures are quite warm, but not hot enough to result in incineration), the body would dry out quickly - taking on a leather-like quality (like beef jerky). This is because, as we know, the human body is made up of a substantial amount of water. And in space, water vapor evaporates rather quickly. (There is also no air in space)
Furthermore, the vacuum of space sans spacesuit would also effectively sterilize a human AND bacteria inhabiting the person. Coupled with the fact that bacterium are key to the decomposition process, it seems rather unlikely that a body would decompose in short order.
Now, with a spacesuit’s protection from the elements, the decomposition process would likely be accelerated. (the extent of which remains to be seen. We can’t know without having witnessed the event, but it’ still problematic considering the role non-bacteria life forms play in the process). Upon death, the bacterium in a spacesuit would quickly start dining on the body as cellular death takes hold, slowly breaking the body apart in various stages. This would only be applicable if a source of heat remained. If not, we’d go back to the predicament before, with the body freezing before bacterium had an opportunity to feed and multiply.
Either way you go about it, death, in and of itself, is nothing gross, repulsive or morbid. In fact, it’s pretty much a rite of passage for all of us. Discussing these matters help bring us to a deeper understanding of the complexity of nature, and of ourselves. Plus, if you’re going to die, you may as well go out epically.

via we-are-star-stuff

☯A psychedelic blog
…what? Limits, like fear, is often an illusion. ☯

☯A psychedelic blog
…what? Limits, like fear, is often an illusion. ☯

This video.