100 Ways to Die in Space – # 16 Electric Shock

Welcome to 100 Ways to Die in Space

Hi there bloggies, welcome to a new and fun little feature – 100 ways to die in space. Taking inspiration from a million ways to die in the west I’ll be taking a somewhat tongue in cheek at the many and various ways that space is somewhat unkind to the average human being and it pretty effective at killing them very quickly. Step aboard and see what happens, just don’t come on wearing a red top!

Method 16 – Electric Shock

I know what you’re thinking here – there’ no mains electricity on the Moon or other planets so where is the electricity coming from? The man has gone mad I hear you cry! I’m afraid not though. True enough there is no mains power beyond Earth and a spacecraft of this generation is likely to be safe from electric sparks and the like – so where is the electricity for these shocks coming from?

As many of you know if you rub a balloon on your head a change is generated which means one can stick the balloon to the wall and other neat little tricks. What happens on our intrepid spacecraft here is similar – except we’re not rubbing our hair on balloons but instead fuel atoms are rubbing against the internals of the rocket or the ship as well as other charges picked up from space like magnetic fields and just generally messy charge all over the place. All of this can build up on a spacecraft and if the wrong spot is touched or if the craft isn’t grounded then KAPOW!

The chances of this are small and things are done to discharge the ship as it lands becasue in space there’s no where to get rid of it. All it would take would be to land on a rubber planet or someone to stick rubber feet on the ship for lols and there’s the perfect recipe for a good old spark.

The laughter of the crewmates you see in as you lay there in a malfunctioning suit are slim comfort and wishing for a grounding rod of some kind has come too late.

This is quite a tongue in cheek episode and it’s by no means one of the greatest threats that is out there but the very fact that charge is probably going to build up on the ship and be present in an off world environment is like a reminder that things in space happen differently than on Earth and nothing should really be taken for granted.

© Simon Farnell 2013 – 2023




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13 thoughts on “100 Ways to Die in Space – # 16 Electric Shock

  1. Good point – hadn’t thought of that problem. It is a big issue here on our rock when hooking/unhooking cargo from beneath a helicopter. Huge static charges can build up quickly from the rotors and whatnot. Very dangerous. Most helio blades are made of carbon fiber which attracts static charges like mad in the first place.

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