Sarah Brightman Space Tour: 5 Things That Could Kill Her [VIDEO]

Opinion

By Mo Mozuch on October 11, 2012 1:04 PM EDT

The International Space Station
photo: nasa.gov (Photo: nasa.gov)

Sarah Brightman, the internationally renowned soprano singer, has announced plans to go into space thanks to Russia's exclusive "Big Bags Of Cash For Space Travel" program. Big bags of cash are no problem for Brightman, one of the wealthiest crossover performers in the world, but she's going to have a lot of other things to worry about before going up into the great blue yonder sometime in 2015 to visit the international space Station. Namely, things that will kill her.

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Here are five things that could kill Sarah Brightman in space:

1. FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!

Ever been in a room with someone when they let loose a red-hot-water-your-eyes-rotten-eggs-and-cut-grass-smelling mega fart? And so you get up and go to another room, or open a window to get some air? Well imagine that the only other room to go to is recycling the same nasty air and opening a window will kill everyone in your house. Oh, and instead of a fart it's a fire. How do farts and fire relate to space, you ask? Well, fire is a major, major risk for any space mission. And not just because the international Space Station has an oxygen-rich environment that does to fire what Mountain Dew does to toddlers, but because when fire happens in zero gravity it behaves differently. And by differently, I mean they form tiny, nearly-invisible balls that drift willy-nilly all over the place. Oh, and stomping them can cause them to spread further because, in space, you're just pushing more air into the flame.

2. Space Junk

I know what you're thinking. "Space junk? That doesn't sound very threatening or scientific!" Well, Mr. Smarty Pants you're half-right. NASA calls it 'space debris' OK? Sorry for trying to jazz up the article a little bit. But the part where you're half-wrong is the part about space junk traveling at 17,500 mph. How fast is that, really? Bullets travel between 700 to 1200 mph, so space junk is traveling at a rate about ten times faster than a bullet. Why is that so lethal? Plain ol' physics, that's why. The faster something travels the more velocity it has and the more velocity it has the harder it hits things. Like a bullet. Throw a bullet at someone and it's harmless. Throw a bullet at 700 mph and it's a different story (SPOILER: You end up in jail, murderer). What is space junk made of? Uh, junk dumbass. Pieces of busted satellites, dust, rocks, etc. all whizz around the area where Sarah Brightman is heading. NASA estimates there are more than 20,000 softball size pieces alone zipping around up there. How big does space junk need to be to cause damage? NASA reports that space shuttle windows, made of bulletproof super-glass, had to be replaced after getting hit with paint flecks.

3. Parachute

Despite all of the cutting-edge technology that will keep Sarah Brightman breathing, eating and pooping while in space perhaps the most important will be the most rudimentary of all: the parachute. See, when she returns to Earth her old pal gravity is waiting for her, and without a good parachute on her return craft, likely a Soyuz TM-32, she will get back to Earth much, much faster. When a parachute failed on Soyuz-1 the cosmonaut inside hit the Earth going 90 mph. Or, in medical terms, "KERSPLAT." But what could cause problems to a parachute housed inside a spacecraft? Obviously you didn't read number #2.

4. Travel

This one should be the most obvious. In case you were unaware, it's a pretty complicated process to propel an object fast enough to break free of the Earth's gravitational forces. We're talking speeds that are basically beyond human comprehension. In order to reach its escape velocity, a spaceship must be traveling 7 miles PER SECOND. That means any little bump from unexpected atmospheric pressure, or perhaps a bird, could cause the whole shebang to go very, very wrong. And it's not like those speeds are generated by using hugs and wishes. Rocket fuel is a pretty volatile substance, burning at almost 6,300 F. Sarah Brightman will basically be riding two swimming pools worth of the stuff into space. There's a lot that can go wrong in that situation, which is why it requires millions of dollars worth of genius thinking to even pull it off.

5. Medical Emergency

Sarah Brightman is no spring chicken. At 53 years old, she is certainly not the oldest person to go to space but she is well within the range for sudden, unexpected old-person illnesses. She'll undoubtedly undergo a physical and all that jazz before takeoff, but no one can predict the future. If she has a stroke or heart attack or appendicitis she's basically screwed. Astronauts are no dummies, and they all have some degree of medical training, but it's not like they keep pain killers and heart stints at the ready on the ISS. A mild emergency on Earth turns into a major-league clusterf-k when you're orbiting the planet in a metal box.

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