What damages can be expected after interior exposure to vacuum?

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Varulv
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What damages can be expected after interior exposure to vacuum?

Postby Varulv » Mon May 25, 2020 8:15 pm

So, last session the players hijacked a ship (actually recovered their own ship) by hacking into the ship’s computer and taking control over several vital systems. Next they locked themselves into the main engineering room and vented the entire ship by remotely opening all airlocks, all cargo doors and all interior doors. And then they cut the power just to be sure that no survivors in a vacc suit could take some countermeasures. They also waited another 24 hours to ensure that any survivors in vacc suits would run out of air. The engineering room was the only area with power and not exposed to vacuum. This happened in jump space and I don’t know enough about jump-space physics to judge if the environment is different from normal space or not – so I decided to treat the jump bubble(?) outside the ship as normal space.

The session ended after they searched the ship and confirmed that all enemies were either dead inside the ship or had been blown out through the open hatches.

Any ideas on what damages can be expected to the interior of the ship in this case? Obviously a mess with food, equipment, furniture and bodies everywhere, but also damage due to cold hard vacuum for 24 hours. Cosmetic damages yes, but what about technical systems? Do e.g. the control panels and monitors on the bridge survive? Is there damage to the life support systems?

Feedback, comments and ideas are most welcome!
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Re: What damages can be expected after interior exposure to vacuum?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon May 25, 2020 9:16 pm

I vaguely believe not much happens. Vacuum welding is a potential problem, but I believe it takes longer.

The life support system has probably taken some damage, broken water pipes etc.

Decompression happens fast, anything that can blow away, has blown away...
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Re: What damages can be expected after interior exposure to vacuum?

Postby Condottiere » Mon May 25, 2020 9:42 pm

Would assume that anything inanimate that doesn't suffer from frostbite gets preserved.

Unless plastic breaks down like when exposed to ultraviolet.
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Re: What damages can be expected after interior exposure to vacuum?

Postby Sigtrygg » Tue May 26, 2020 6:16 am

Have you considered what would happen if you turned the scenario around?

Your PCs are the crew and a group of hijackers take over engineering and do to the PCs what you have had the PCs do unto their enemies...
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Re: What damages can be expected after interior exposure to vacuum?

Postby Sigtrygg » Tue May 26, 2020 6:18 am

Condottiere wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 9:42 pm
Would assume that anything inanimate that doesn't suffer from frostbite gets preserved.
Why, vacuum isn't cold? There would be no frostbite
Unless plastic breaks down like when exposed to ultraviolet.
Where is the UV light coming from?
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ShawnDriscoll
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Re: What damages can be expected after interior exposure to vacuum?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Tue May 26, 2020 6:26 am

Varulv wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 8:15 pm
So, last session the players hijacked a ship (actually recovered their own ship) by hacking into the ship’s computer and taking control over several vital systems. Next they locked themselves into the main engineering room and vented the entire ship by remotely opening all airlocks, all cargo doors and all interior doors. And then they cut the power just to be sure that no survivors in a vacc suit could take some countermeasures. They also waited another 24 hours to ensure that any survivors in vacc suits would run out of air. The engineering room was the only area with power and not exposed to vacuum. This happened in jump space and I don’t know enough about jump-space physics to judge if the environment is different from normal space or not – so I decided to treat the jump bubble(?) outside the ship as normal space.

The session ended after they searched the ship and confirmed that all enemies were either dead inside the ship or had been blown out through the open hatches.

Any ideas on what damages can be expected to the interior of the ship in this case? Obviously a mess with food, equipment, furniture and bodies everywhere, but also damage due to cold hard vacuum for 24 hours. Cosmetic damages yes, but what about technical systems? Do e.g. the control panels and monitors on the bridge survive? Is there damage to the life support systems?

Feedback, comments and ideas are most welcome!
Space suits don't get damaged while in space. So interior parts of ships should be fine in vacuum as well. When you find a derelict ship in space, it's not really in that bad of a condition. Just the usual spoilage stuff in inventory.
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Re: What damages can be expected after interior exposure to vacuum?

Postby Condottiere » Tue May 26, 2020 9:31 pm

Temperature changes could make plastic more fluid, or brittle, and I'll assume we'll be making use of a lot of plastic in future.
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Re: What damages can be expected after interior exposure to vacuum?

Postby Varulv » Tue May 26, 2020 10:18 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 6:18 am
Condottiere wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 9:42 pm
Would assume that anything inanimate that doesn't suffer from frostbite gets preserved.
Why, vacuum isn't cold? There would be no frostbite
Since the power is cut to everything except the engineering compartment, shouldn't the temperature fall towards absolute zero in the rest of the ship?

ShawnDriscoll wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 6:26 am
Space suits don't get damaged while in space. So interior parts of ships should be fine in vacuum as well. When you find a derelict ship in space, it's not really in that bad of a condition. Just the usual spoilage stuff in inventory.
A space suit is designed to be exposed to vacuum in space, at least from the outside. Couldn't materials on the inside of a space suit be damaged by extreme cold? E.g. a water bottle?
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Re: What damages can be expected after interior exposure to vacuum?

Postby Geir » Tue May 26, 2020 10:27 pm

In the scenario of being in a jump bubble, I'm not sure what happens with temperature when you turn off the life support. Obviously, in this scenario, with the power plant still running, the ship will generate heat. How does thermodynamics work in jump space? I could argue that the heat from the ship actually heats up the environment, since its a tiny closed universe, and if you stay in jump space long enough, you cook. But in a vacuum, there is no conduction through atmosphere, though heat wold propagate through the body of the ship itself. My physics degree aborted around Imaginary Calculus (yes, that's a thing) 35 years ago, so I'm not even going to attempt the math, but in game terms, I would call it a wash and ignore heat as a consideration, even if the powerplant was shut down - in a jump bubble, at least.

As for material damage, anything with a water content would probably be ruined. I imagine at least on a scout or military vessel everything would be vacuum-hardened and do just fine. On commercial vessels, its likely that 10,000 years of Vilani-originated regulation would probably limit what was certified as "space ready" and most furnishings and fixtures would do just fine.
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Re: What damages can be expected after interior exposure to vacuum?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Wed May 27, 2020 2:33 am

Ships are presumably designed to be decompressed, as CT specifies that that is standard procedure in combat.


Ambient temperature in space is a complex subject. The plasma can be quite hot, but since it is very, very thin the total energy is very low and heat transfer negligible.


An unpowered object in free space will not cool towards absolute zero, it will cool towards equilibrium between radiated energy and received heat radiation, e.g. from the Sun, cosmic background radiation, or internal heat sources. Basically nothing will become cooler than ~3 K in real space. I have, of course, no idea what happens in jump space.

Since there is (almost) no atmosphere to exchange heat with temperature changes will be much slower than on Earth.

An object in orbit around a planet can experience large temperature swings between sunlight and shadow behind the planet.
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Re: What damages can be expected after interior exposure to vacuum?

Postby Sigmar » Wed May 27, 2020 3:27 am

What happens to somebody that is ejected from the ship in jump space? Are they stuck in the jump bubble and travel with the ship or do they just get dropped into normal space? I'm new to Traveller so I don't know if this has been covered or not.
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Re: What damages can be expected after interior exposure to vacuum?

Postby NOLATrav » Wed May 27, 2020 4:00 am

Sigmar wrote:
Wed May 27, 2020 3:27 am
What happens to somebody that is ejected from the ship in jump space? Are they stuck in the jump bubble and travel with the ship or do they just get dropped into normal space? I'm new to Traveller so I don't know if this has been covered or not.
Welcome!

I’m vaguely remembering there was a sidebar in Mongoose 1e called “I go outside!” which says anyone who does go outside of the ship while in jump space is dead. Irrevocably dead.

But a couple years ago a poster over at the COTI forums related the story of a game he was playing with his two young sons. While in jump space one of them had to go out on the hull for a repair and missed a skill check. Rather than allow the character to die he ruled the adventurer’s hand touched the jump bubble and it was lost, cauterized, sort of like Luke Skywalker at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, but he managed to patch his vacc suit and make it back inside the ship. His kids were stoked, they thought it was so awesome (and the injured Traveller later got a cool cybernetic replacement hand).

Anyway, I loved that he shared that and I’ve been doing that IMTU ever since. You might survive contact with the jump bubble if you’re lucky but you’re completely atomized if you’re not.
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Re: What damages can be expected after interior exposure to vacuum?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Wed May 27, 2020 4:07 am

Varulv wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 10:18 pm
A space suit is designed to be exposed to vacuum in space, at least from the outside. Couldn't materials on the inside of a space suit be damaged by extreme cold? E.g. a water bottle?
I suppose, if there was water in it and if made of plastic and if frozen. Losing heat does not translate to freezing over.
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Re: What damages can be expected after interior exposure to vacuum?

Postby Varulv » Wed May 27, 2020 9:03 pm

Thank you all for your comments, suggestions and insights. This helps me with our next session! :)
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Re: What damages can be expected after interior exposure to vacuum?

Postby Condottiere » Wed May 27, 2020 10:18 pm

Warships are meant to be de-atmosphered; commercial shipping usually not.
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Re: What damages can be expected after interior exposure to vacuum?

Postby Sigtrygg » Thu May 28, 2020 1:08 pm

According to the rules as written since classic days civilian ships routinely depressurise for combat.
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Re: What damages can be expected after interior exposure to vacuum?

Postby Condottiere » Thu May 28, 2020 9:51 pm

Civilian ships (and their owners) don't usually expect to go into combat.

Paramilitary ships do (prepare).
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Re: What damages can be expected after interior exposure to vacuum?

Postby Sigtrygg » Fri May 29, 2020 6:38 am

And yet all the civilian ships in Traveller are armed, or have the potential to be armed so their owners do indeed expect combat. In order to accept a mail contract a ship has to be armed...
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Re: What damages can be expected after interior exposure to vacuum?

Postby Condottiere » Fri May 29, 2020 10:19 pm

We tend to set our adventures on the fringes of empire, or during times of crises.

Hardpoints are reinforcing decks to cope with the stress of the weight and recoil of medium calibre cannons, and after there was a clear separation of military and commercial ships, governments tended to subsidize construction, if the the shipping company added this feature in, so that conversion to naval auxiliary like armed merchant cruiser became rather simple; plus, the shipping company gives prior consent to it being commandeered.

Insurance premiums go through the roof, if a ship will sail through stretches of water where they can be attacked, and being armed is discouraged.

It's one reason that I maintain that piracy isn't really possible within the core subsectors of the Imperium, only along it's borders.
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Re: What damages can be expected after interior exposure to vacuum?

Postby Linwood » Sat May 30, 2020 11:43 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Wed May 27, 2020 2:33 am
Ambient temperature in space is a complex subject. The plasma can be quite hot, but since it is very, very thin the total energy is very low and heat transfer negligible.
.
From a previous life - most plasma-based industrial processes like plasma spray, plasma nitriding and the like typically use very low pressure or vacuum in the reaction chamber. This lowers the density of the plasma but reduces the energy needed to sustain it. Extrapolating to space, if there is plasma inside the vessel I would expect some level of direct ion implantation over time. In metals this can be both good and bad. So if you want to get a little creative and can justify having an active plasma source in the area exposed to vacuum you might have some interesting effects given enough time (many hrs for low-density plasmas).

I would think that regardless of whether a ship is military or civilian most cultures would require standard use of materials that are flame retardant, resistant to vacuum welding and not prone to out gassing in vacuum. But there’s almost certain to be some objects/furnishings/stuff not part of the standard ship design (likely brought aboard by passengers/crew) that wasn’t space-rated.

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