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What Would Happen If You Shot a Gun In Space?
Life Little Mysteries ^ | 2/17/2010 | Natalie Wolchover

Posted on 02/25/2012 3:43:56 PM PST by U-238

Fires can't burn in the oxygen-free vacuum of space, but guns can shoot. Modern ammunition contains its own oxidizer, a chemical that will trigger the explosion of gunpowder, and thus the firing of a bullet, wherever you are in the universe. No atmospheric oxygen required.

The only difference between pulling the trigger on Earth and in space is the shape of the resulting smoke trail. In space, "it would be an expanding sphere of smoke from the tip of the barrel," said Peter Schultz an astronomer at Brown University who researches impact craters.

The possibility of gunfire in space allows for all kinds of absurd scenarios.

Imagine you're floating freely in the vacuum between galaxies — just you, your gun and a single bullet. You have two options. You either can spend all of eternity trying to figure out how you got there, or you can shoot the damn cosmos.

If you do the latter, Newton's third law dictates that the force exerted on the bullet will impart an equal and opposite force on the gun, and, because you're holding the gun, you. With very few intergalactic atoms against which to brace yourself, you'll start moving backward (not that you’d have any way of knowing). If the bullet leaves the gun barrel at 1,000 meters per second, you — because you're much more massive than it is — will head the other way at only a few centimeters per second.

Once shot, the bullet will keep going, quite literally, forever. "The bullet will never stop, because the universe is expanding faster than the bullet can catch up with any serious amount of mass" to slow it down, said Matija Cuk, an astronomer with joint appointments at Harvard University and the SETI Institute.

(Excerpt) Read more at lifeslittlemysteries.com ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ammunition; banglist; physics; science; space; spacescience
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1 posted on 02/25/2012 3:44:09 PM PST by U-238
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To: U-238

The libs would try to confiscate it.


2 posted on 02/25/2012 3:45:44 PM PST by Repeal The 17th (We have met the enemy and he is us.)
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To: U-238
What Would Happen If You Shot a Gun In Space?

This is a no brainer. If you shot a gun in space, you would rip a whole in the space time continuum and we would cease to exist. DUH!


3 posted on 02/25/2012 3:49:07 PM PST by Lazlo in PA (Now living in a newly minted Red State.)
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To: U-238
Fires can't burn in the oxygen-free vacuum of space, but guns can shoot. Modern ammunition contains its own oxidizer, a chemical that will trigger the explosion of gunpowder, and thus the firing of a bullet, wherever you are in the universe.

BIG assumption. There is no guarentee that phsyics, and thusly chemistry, is a constant everywhere in the universe. All I'd need to do is adjust the Planck Constant just a bit, and the results might be that upon pulling the trigger, Bugs Bunny would peek out the barrel with a little BANG flag, kiss you on the nose, then dive back into the barrel.

Much hilarity ensues.

4 posted on 02/25/2012 3:50:53 PM PST by Lazamataz (If unemployment helps the economy, like the W.H. says, then CONTRACTING CANCER MAKES YOU HEALTHIER!)
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To: U-238

My head hurts.


5 posted on 02/25/2012 3:52:27 PM PST by yarddog
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To: U-238

Well, the outer space bullet will “stop” if the bullet does hit something, and even gas clouds could slow it way down.

Nobody will hear the gun going bang in outer space, however.


6 posted on 02/25/2012 3:52:37 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (Sometimes progressives find their scripture in the penumbra of sacred bathroom stall writings (Tzar))
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To: U-238

I sure am glad they cleared that all up finally.


7 posted on 02/25/2012 3:52:46 PM PST by Bullish (12-22-2012)
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To: U-238

I would think that the gun (and trigger puller would ) would be propelled in the opposite direction forever unless attracted by a nearby by celestial body...the irony is that we would be more attracted to the more massive bodies, as counter-intuitive as that might seem.


8 posted on 02/25/2012 3:53:27 PM PST by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: Lazamataz
There is no guarentee that phsyics, and thusly chemistry, is a constant everywhere in the universe.

You are absolutely correct.In 2010,A team of astrophysicists based in Australia and England has uncovered evidence that the laws of physics are different in different parts of the universe
9 posted on 02/25/2012 3:54:30 PM PST by U-238
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To: U-238
With so many possible movie plotlines to consider, one question remains: Why are there so few space shoot 'em ups?

I miss Firefly.

10 posted on 02/25/2012 3:57:04 PM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (Government is the religion of the fascists.)
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To: Repeal The 17th

In space, no one can hear you shoot.


11 posted on 02/25/2012 3:57:40 PM PST by mkmensinger
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To: U-238
Fires can't burn in the oxygen-free vacuum of space, but guns can shoot.

I knew NASA would attempt to convince us of something ridiculous like this since they staged that space flight 50 years ago and claimed that the earth was round.

What will they try next???

12 posted on 02/25/2012 4:00:10 PM PST by EGPWS (Trust in God, question everyone else)
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To: U-238

Holy crap! Can you point me to that article????!?


13 posted on 02/25/2012 4:00:47 PM PST by Lazamataz (If unemployment helps the economy, like the W.H. says, then CONTRACTING CANCER MAKES YOU HEALTHIER!)
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To: U-238
Fires can't burn in the oxygen-free vacuum of space, but guns can shoot.

I wonder about that, will guns really fire at any temperature? If your ammo's trending down toward absolute zero, will it start to fail on you?

14 posted on 02/25/2012 4:01:02 PM PST by eclecticEel (Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: 7/4/1776 - 3/21/2010)
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To: U-238


15 posted on 02/25/2012 4:01:40 PM PST by Iron Munro ("Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight he'll just kill you." John Steinbeck)
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To: mkmensinger
In space, no one can hear you shoot.

You can in the Hollywood part of space.

16 posted on 02/25/2012 4:02:13 PM PST by ROCKLOBSTER ( Celebrate Republicans Freed the Slaves Month.)
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To: mkmensinger

Are you allowed to carry concealed in space?


17 posted on 02/25/2012 4:03:04 PM PST by beelzepug ("Blind obedience to arbitrary rules is a sign of mental illness")
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To: HiTech RedNeck
and even gas clouds could slow it way down."

Actually, I believe a bullet would be one of the slowest
Particles in space anyway and the nearest gravity well would suck it in.
In fact I don't think it would even pass the moon before the Earths gravity would pull it back down.
Apollo TLI velocities were faster than a bullet from a gun.

18 posted on 02/25/2012 4:03:04 PM PST by Falcon4.0
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Or you screaming, if it bites you :-)


19 posted on 02/25/2012 4:03:29 PM PST by rabidralph
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To: U-238
What would happen if you shot a gun in space?

According to this documentary, not much. Click
20 posted on 02/25/2012 4:03:46 PM PST by Krankor (eenie meenie, chili beanie, the spirits are about to speak.)
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To: U-238
Fires can't burn in the oxygen-free vacuum of space,...

Yeah, duh, the sun is a reflection.

21 posted on 02/25/2012 4:04:51 PM PST by EGPWS (Trust in God, question everyone else)
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To: U-238

“Imagine you’re floating freely in the vacuum between galaxies — just you, your gun and a single bullet.”

I’m guessing I would also have a suit with some oxygen? Then I’d enjoy the view until my tank got low and point the gun in the opposite direction of the cosmos.

If I didn’t have a suit and tank... well, this is just silly then!


22 posted on 02/25/2012 4:05:36 PM PST by 21twelve
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To: U-238

As sound does not propogate in space the ATF would promptly arrest you for having a suppressor.


23 posted on 02/25/2012 4:05:52 PM PST by CrazyIvan (Obama's birth certificate was found stapled to Soros's receipt.)
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To: U-238

If you are in space, but in some type of orbit and fire the gun in a tangential direction to your orbit, you will go to a higher orbit.


24 posted on 02/25/2012 4:06:02 PM PST by Balata (It's 'WE THE PEOPLE' Obama, not 'WE THE SHEEPLE'!)
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To: U-238

Why would you shoot a gun?
Shoot a space alien instead.


25 posted on 02/25/2012 4:06:42 PM PST by DannyTN
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To: beelzepug

Not in the Il galaxy.


26 posted on 02/25/2012 4:08:55 PM PST by CrazyIvan (Obama's birth certificate was found stapled to Soros's receipt.)
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To: EGPWS
Yeah, duh, the sun is a reflection.

The sun is a nuclear reaction.
27 posted on 02/25/2012 4:09:27 PM PST by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: Lazlo in PA

What Would Happen If You Shot a Gun In Space?

"It would be bad… Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light."


28 posted on 02/25/2012 4:09:33 PM PST by COBOL2Java (Mitt Romney is SEVERELY conservative - and I'm SEVERELY against giving him my vote!)
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To: U-238

Can’t get a gun aboard a rocket or a shuttle. Those creepy people at the body scanners and screeners would find it for sure.


29 posted on 02/25/2012 4:12:15 PM PST by KingLudd
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To: beelzepug
Are you allowed to carry concealed in space?

I'd rather carry open, unzipping your jacket to get to your piece might be problematic.

30 posted on 02/25/2012 4:13:48 PM PST by Tijeras_Slim
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
I miss Firefly.

I read something the other day that said the SYFY channel was working on a series somehow related to Firefly.
31 posted on 02/25/2012 4:14:11 PM PST by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: cripplecreek
The sun is a nuclear reaction.

Meet the M65 nuclear rifle! :-D

Photobucket

32 posted on 02/25/2012 4:15:57 PM PST by EGPWS (Trust in God, question everyone else)
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To: U-238

The Thompson was the favorite gun of the Star Treks.


33 posted on 02/25/2012 4:16:30 PM PST by ansel12 (Romney is unquestionably the weakest party front-runner in contemporary political history.)
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To: U-238

But the physics involved does point to one of my major pet peeves in movies- someone getting hit by a bullet or shotgun blast and flying 10 feet backwards. it is flat out impossible for the projectile to strike the target with more kinetic energy than it delivers to the shooter; thus if it would filing ME backwards 10 feet it won’t do so to a similar sized person I hit.

Now the physics of a gunfight on a small, low gravity planet or planetoid would be very interesting.


34 posted on 02/25/2012 4:18:51 PM PST by RedStateRocker (Nuke Mecca, Deport all illegals, abolish the IRS, DEA and ATF.)
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To: EGPWS

I kinda like that revolver that Hellboy carries.


35 posted on 02/25/2012 4:20:12 PM PST by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: EGPWS
Here's a picture of an A-10 without its clothing. (VW is for size comparison only)

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
36 posted on 02/25/2012 4:22:19 PM PST by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: U-238

37 posted on 02/25/2012 4:24:54 PM PST by smokingfrog ( sleep with one eye open (<o> ---)
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To: cripplecreek
Cool!

Photobucket

38 posted on 02/25/2012 4:25:42 PM PST by EGPWS (Trust in God, question everyone else)
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To: Lazamataz
...Bugs Bunny would peek out the barrel with a little BANG flag, kiss you on the nose, then dive back into the barrel.

Well, if your gun/rifle is on your shoulder when you pull the trigger then you probably wouldn't have time to see Bugs Bunny cause it would put you into a spin without end.

Of course that wouldn't be true if you are in a 'No Spin Zone'.

39 posted on 02/25/2012 4:25:42 PM PST by Balata (It's 'WE THE PEOPLE' Obama, not 'WE THE SHEEPLE'!)
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To: Tijeras_Slim

I think the soviets already fired a machine gun in space on one
of their early space stations causing lots of damage
to the station with the recoil.


40 posted on 02/25/2012 4:35:06 PM PST by sarge83
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To: U-238
One thing that might concern me is that the cartridge case, besides containing gunpowder, also contains a little bit of air. Depending on how much air was in the cartridge, and how firmly the bullet was seated, decompression might result in the bullet partially or completely popping out of the cartridge case, causing a jam in the mechanism.

I decided to do the math before posting: a .38 bullet has a base area of 0.108 square inches. Atmospheric pressure inside the case would be 14.7psi, so the bullet would experience 1.6 pounds of unseating pressure, which shouldn't be an issue with factory rounds.

41 posted on 02/25/2012 4:41:30 PM PST by PapaBear3625 (In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. - George Orwell)
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To: U-238
The only difference between pulling the trigger on Earth and in space is the shape of the resulting smoke trail. In space, "it would be an expanding sphere of smoke from the tip of the barrel," said Peter Schultz an astronomer at Brown University who researches impact craters.

I would expect a better analysis from a University astronomer. An expanding sphere? Hardly. The gases and smoke particles produced by the combustion in the weapon are going to expand down the barrel. In so doing they are going to accelerate to a pretty good velocity. (eg. rifles typically a couple thousand fps) upon exiting the barrel there is no atmosphere to slow the gases. The only significant force acting on them is their own molecules pushing on each other. So they will begin to push apart and expand, while still retaining their significant velocity. The resulting smoke trail should resemble a large cone, not a sphere.

42 posted on 02/25/2012 4:43:46 PM PST by ThunderSleeps (Stop obama now! Stop the hussein - insane agenda!)
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To: Lazamataz

Might make it hard to do the test if the condition of space itself isn’t conducive to life.


43 posted on 02/25/2012 4:43:46 PM PST by dangerdoc (see post #6)
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To: U-238

44 posted on 02/25/2012 4:45:31 PM PST by NakedRampage (Puttin' the "stud" in Bible study)
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To: gorush

The bullet will meet the centrifical force of the opposing atmospheric space minus all gravity divided by three with equal maass of the bloated brains of many scientists who think they know so much! Ha!


45 posted on 02/25/2012 4:46:16 PM PST by fabian (" And a new day will dawn for those who stand long, and the forests will echo with laughter")
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To: Lazamataz

There certainly is a guarantee that the laws of physics hold everywhere. Ask any astronomer.


46 posted on 02/25/2012 4:46:48 PM PST by GAB-1955 (I write books, serve my country, love my wife and daughter, and believe in the Resurrection.)
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To: U-238

If John Browning was still around, he would figure out how to make it work and work every time.


47 posted on 02/25/2012 4:49:32 PM PST by yarddog
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To: cripplecreek

Without Nathan Fillion, it wouldn’t be the same.


48 posted on 02/25/2012 4:49:47 PM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (Government is the religion of the fascists.)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

Its OK because I like cheese.


49 posted on 02/25/2012 4:51:38 PM PST by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: Lazamataz
There is no guarentee that phsyics, and thusly chemistry, is a constant everywhere in the universe.

Geez, wherever you carried the round, the physics would remain the same for the round since that is something from one part of the universe you're carrying into another part--the physics are inherent in the physical materials of which the round is constructed. Besides, it's called UNI verse for a reason.
50 posted on 02/25/2012 4:52:23 PM PST by aruanan
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