Fear of Decompression -- suit punctures?

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Fear of Decompression -- suit punctures?

Postby apoc527 » Tue May 10, 2011 1:21 am

Is anyone aware of any decent rules for making personal combat in a vacc suit terrifyingly realistic by allowing for loss of suit pressure and the subsequent need to rapidly slap on a patch?

I thought there were rules in Scout, but I'm not sure.

If not, has anyone developed any?

And how about a true self-sealing vacc suit? What TL is reasonable for that? What level of tear can the suit repair? I'd expect only advanced nanotech to be able to quickly "self-seal" the worst tears, but on the other hand, a small cut or puncture might be easily self-sealable at TL8 or 9. What do you guys think?

In my next Trav game, I'm going to really push the hard sci-fi flavor (as much as is possible with artificial gravity and jump drives, of course).

Thanks!
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Postby Jeraa » Tue May 10, 2011 1:36 am

Well, Vacc suits are armor. You can assume that if more damage is dealt to a character than the suit is capable of stopping, then a hole is created.

Looking in my copy of the core rulebook, it mentions breaches, saying that "typical punctures from bullets, lasers, and even melee weapons will cause small tears that seal themselves so quickly as to have no game effect". Anything bigger than that is probably too big to patch anyway. So it seems the default Vacc Suits as presented in the book are the self-sealing variety.

Edit: There is what I was looking for. The Central Supply Catalog, page 154, has a Sealant Sheath - you wear it under sealed armor, and in the case of a breech, the sheath triggers nano-capsules to seal the leak. Available at TL 13.
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Postby apoc527 » Tue May 10, 2011 2:38 am

Found it. Scout, towards the end. Decent rules. But fairly vague. I'll draft up some detail and post it here. I'm thinking that it will have to do with the amount of damage compared to the Protection value of the suit, plus whether the damage was cutting, piercing, or whatever. The rules give the GM a lot of latitude so I think it'll work fine. Scout is great for the "hostile environment" rules in it!
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Postby SSWarlock » Wed May 11, 2011 10:50 pm

Just an FYI..RealWorld(tm) consequences of human exposure to vacuum is documented in detail at http://www.geoffreylandis.com/vacuum.html

Interesting that freezing isn't one of them.
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Postby justacaveman » Thu May 12, 2011 12:37 am

Vacuum Freezing is more like burning.
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Postby GamerDude » Thu May 12, 2011 4:32 am

Great link, I've bookmarked it for later use. Thanks!
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Postby BP » Fri May 13, 2011 6:43 am

That link is not bad in that it dis-spells some Hollywood exaggerations, but it is mostly about terrestrial 'near' vacuum exposure - and it is quite wrong about temperature in space (though correct in making the point that bodies don't 'instantly freeze').

It is a common mistake to neglect radiative heat transfer and assume therefore that a vacuum cannot subject one to thermal changes. This is not the case. The body will freeze (also experience rapid cooling as water evaporates and tissues and blood out-gas...) - just not instantly - and not necessarily completely if it is exposed to radiated heat (i.e., sunlight). This is also part of the reason getting rid of heat is such a problem - its not just the Astronaut's body heat - but any exposure to the sun, without atmo absorbing most of the radiation can rapidly heat them (over 400 degrees at Earth orbits, IIRC).

It is also erroneous to state that space is at absolute zero - it is not. The cosmic background radiation is ~ 2.76 degrees Kelvin. Things are a bit warmer when in a stellar system (like ours). Another mistake occurs because a traditional mercury thermometer could not measure temperature in space - leading to the idea that space temperature cannot be measured. It can be measured just fine with the proper instruments!

Space is also not an absolute vacuum... conversely, the vacuum incidences related on that web page are not anywhere near the levels of even 'near space' vacuums with the exception of the Astronaut glove puncture. Which, btw, was not large enough to really relate to the degree of exposure the page is mostly referring to.

The truth is - no one really knows exactly what would happen to an exposed living human! We can't even simulate it on earth. Vacuum chambers take too long to get down to space levels - I know this as my father actually built space probe instruments and ran a vacuum lab for production units ;).

(He retired recently, but several of his constructions are on there way to places like Pluto and Jupiter...)
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Postby GamerDude » Fri May 13, 2011 8:34 am

BP wrote:It is a common mistake to neglect radiative heat transfer and assume therefore that a vacuum cannot subject one to thermal changes. This is not the case.
Quite true. Those of us who grew up during the days of the first U.S. space station, Skylab, will remember NASA having to deploy a make shift "sail" over the surface of the station because part of the shielding got torn off during lift off. With it outside the protection of Earth's atmosphere and without that protection that got torn off the sun's rays beating down on the ship would be uninhabitable because of the intense heat generated.

(thank you andrew for the correction. why I don't like to post at strange hours you make mistakes).
Last edited by GamerDude on Fri May 13, 2011 7:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby AndrewW » Fri May 13, 2011 8:48 am

GamerDude wrote:]Quite true. Those of us who grew up during the days of the first space station, Skylab, will remember NASA having to deploy a make shift "sail" over the surface of the station because part of the shielding got torn off during lift off.
Not exactly the first, the USSR's Salyut 1 station was up there before Skylab.
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Postby BP » Fri May 13, 2011 4:21 pm

Indeed - and if America's space program had not been mis-directed to put a man on the moon as its primary objective, ironically, the world would probably have a much greater presence in space.

The American space program had actually been targeting building space stations in the 60's. The Skylab program was basically an attempt to salvage those objectives given the political and military derailing that had occurred...
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Postby GamerDude » Fri May 13, 2011 7:51 pm

Political/Social correctness aside. I was merely making a point about how heat is transmitted through vacuum to objects in space.

I didn't think to mention that hey, if it didn't then how would the Earth ever get warm?
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Postby BP » Fri May 13, 2011 9:00 pm

:D - yeah I didn't go there with the heat thing, because technically one can also point out that planets release their own heat (think lava, steam geyers and convective heat...); that gravity pulling particles together and in different directions - ala the atmosphere and tides - can cause heat generation as well; not to mention the chemical energy of living organisms, etc. etc.

But in the case of our human surrounds - most of the heat comes from the radiative energy of the sun...

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