Starts With A Bang

Does water freeze or boil in space? (Synopsis)

Image credit: ESA/NASA, of Andre Kuipers, via http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2014/05/Andre_Kuipers_water_droplet.

“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” –Rabindranath Tagore

And you can’t answer a hypothetical question for certain, at least in science, without doing the experiment for yourself. Here on Earth, liquid water is plentiful; our planet has the stable temperatures and pressures that water needs to exist in its liquid state.

Image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Image by Reto Stöckli, Terra Satellite / MODIS instrument.

But what happens if you take that water to space? In the vacuum of space, the temperatures are much too low for liquid water; everything should freeze. But the pressures are much to low for liquid water as well; everything should boil!

Image credit: Wikimedia commons user Cmglee.

So which one does it actually do? Don’t just find out, come find out why!