This fascinating article answers the question ‘Can you burp in space’ and gives you 7 reasons why burping is nearly impossible without gravity.
From the physics of burps to space sickness, you’ll be amazed at how our biology adapts in microgravity.
If you want a quirky look into the lesser-known side effects astronauts face, you’ll love this lighthearted read.
1. Microgravity Prevents Burping
On Earth, we burp when gas from the stomach rises up the esophagus and gets released through the mouth. But in the microgravity of space, gases don’t rise up as easily. Instead, they spread out evenly inside the body. This makes it very hard for astronauts to burp since there is no upward motion to bring stomach gases toward the throat. Though uncomfortable, this lack of burping is just one of many bodily changes astronauts must adapt to while living in space.
2. Gases and Liquids Float Together in the Stomach
On Earth, gas bubbles rise to the top in liquids like soda or beer. But in space, gases and liquids mix together. Without gravity pulling fluids down, astronauts’ stomach contents float around as a foamy bubbles-and-acid mixture. This means space travelers feel gassy or bloated in their stomachs since gases don’t separate and rise like they normally would.
Getting rid of this discomfort usually requires waiting for the bubbles to move through the digestive system – burping is not an option. While floating bubbly stomach contents may sound fun, it’s just another zero-gravity nuisance astronauts must adapt to.
3. Burps Turn Into Vomit Blobs in Space
On Earth, burps are mostly just bursts of gas. But in the microgravity of space, a “burp” becomes a floating blob of stomach acid. Without gravity, there’s nothing to force ejected stomach contents downwards. So when astronauts try to burp in space, it results in unpleasant acid blobs entering their mouths. As you can imagine, this is not a fun experience.
Space travelers have to be careful not to burp since it could cause them to throw up. While dealing with “urps” (vomit burps) is bad enough on Earth, it’s a whole other nauseating issue in space. Astronauts quickly learn to avoid anything that makes them gassy and take care not to try burping. Otherwise, they’ll end up with a floating blob of vomit-like stomach acid in their mouths.
4. Astronauts Use Air Suction to Prevent Wet Burps
To prevent floating vomit blobs, astronauts use air suction systems. Special tubes and hoses are attached to their spacesuits to provide constant airflow. This airflow creates a suction that pulls any escaped liquids or gases away from an astronaut’s head. So if they accidentally burp or have wet regurgitation, the result gets quickly sucked away by air filters.
Without this technology, space travel would be a much messier and more disgusting affair. Astronauts have to vigilantly monitor their diets and avoid gas-inducing foods in space. But the air suction systems provide an extra safeguard, just in case an urge to belch sneaks up on them. Thanks to these innovative systems, astronauts can explore the wonders of space without having to worry about getting an unwanted mouthful of stomach acid.
5. Space Food Reduces Gas Production
To limit wet burps in space, astronauts follow a strict diet of low-gas foods. Foods like beans, broccoli, and carbonated drinks are off the menu. Instead, the space menu includes bland items like tortillas, nuts, and protein bars. These foods are chosen because they minimize gas production during digestion. Pre-packaged space meals go through a meticulous approval process to identify any potential sources of trapped gas bubbles.
Dehydrated and freeze-dried foods are common since their water content has been removed. The lack of moisture prevents gas release when eaten. Though it lacks variety and flavor, the astronaut diet is specially formulated to reduce incidents of unwanted belching. With limited ingredients, NASA nutritionists do their best to make space food as appealing as possible. But the priority remains keeping astronauts’ stomachs calm to avoid messy zero-gravity burps.
6. Burping Can Damage Space Suits
Astronauts must be careful not to belch or vomit while wearing their pressurized space suits. These suits maintain a stable internal environment for breathing and body temperature regulation. But they are vulnerable to contamination from bodily fluids. A forceful burp could spray stomach contents through the suit’s air circulation system. Vomit is even more hazardous since it can clog filters and impair breathing.
The suits’ internal fans distribute any airborne contaminants throughout the entire system. This could expose an astronaut’s skin to caustic bile or acid reflux. To prevent such failures, astronauts are instructed to frequently purge their mouths into disposable wipes after eating. If they feel an urge to belch or gag, they turn on their suit’s purge valve to vent air safely outside. Though unpleasant, these precautions are essential for keeping space suits operational during critical extravehicular activities.
7. Future Space Colonies May Allow Controlled Burping
As we establish permanent settlements on the Moon, Mars, and beyond, social norms around bodily functions like burping may relax. The closed ecosystems of space colonies will likely feature air filtration and recycling systems robust enough to tolerate occasional gas expulsions. This could allow residents more freedom to belch and pass gas than current astronauts have aboard the International Space Station.
However, space colonists will still need to show courtesy by avoiding loud or excessive burping in public areas. designated “belching booths” may provide private spaces to vent gases comfortably away from others. With creativity and common sense, future space dwellers can enjoy lighthearted burping without damaging critical equipment or aggravating neighbors.
What Happens When You Burp in Outer Space?
When you burp in space, the gas and air from the burp don’t rise like it does on Earth. Since there is no gravity, the burp bubbles stay in front of your face.
Can You Burp in Space Without Throwing Up?
Yes, you can burp in space without throwing up. The lack of gravity means vomit doesn’t rise up your throat like on Earth. As long as you swallow any vomit, you can burp without throwing up.
Can You Sneeze in Space?
You can sneeze in space. Sneezes are explosive bursts of air that happen no matter where you are. The sneeze droplets will float around in zero gravity instead of falling to the ground.
Can You Snore in Space?
Yes, astronauts can and do snore in space. The lack of gravity doesn’t affect the soft tissues in the throat that vibrate to cause snoring. The snores sound the same but the air dissipates differently.
As we learned, you can burp, sneeze, and snore normally in the microgravity environment of space. The lack of gravity affects where the expelled air and droplets float but doesn’t prevent normal bodily functions like burping. Understanding how the human body works in space is key for future long-duration space missions, where astronauts will live in microgravity for months or years. The fact that you can burp in space without throwing up shows the human body adapts remarkably well.