Review of chapter "Spike of Earth" from Prometeus
I'm enjoying the story though you've got details about space pretty wrong.
First of all, people don't freeze in space. Space is pretty much a perfect insulator. It's used in some thermos bottles and double paned windows for exactly that reason. Unless you touch something that's already cold like a rock to enable conduction to flow heat out, you'll stay warm for a very long time. Heat radiating out isn't a big problem. It would take *an hour* for a human being, or other creature with similar metabolism, to lose enough heat in deep space to fall into a coma.
Second of all, if you're in a solar system then heat radiating IN is a huge problem. You'll heat UP more than you'll freeze assuming you're at all exposed to the sun. That's why spaceships and space habitats have huge honking radiators. And a starship that was running would likely have its outsides be a nice balmy 300 kelvin, the same temperature as its insides because of thermal equilibrium. In other words, your hand won't freeze to it like glue.
Thirdly, just because you don't freeze for a very long time in space doesn't mean that your depiction was compleely wrong. You DO lose air very rapidly, to the point of exploded blood vessels as the air in them bubbles away. You also lose water. And this water you lose is moisture in the rapidly expanding air that is your breath. In other words, the moisture in your breath flash freezes and frosts nearby surfaces, assuming there are any since it's not going to get reflected back onto your face.
Point is, *your breath* is going to freeze because your breath is in an *expanding gas* but your body isn't an expanding gas so it's not gonna freeze because *space isn't cold*. Think about it, what are igloos made of? They're made of snow, because it's a good insulator.
Finally, and most importantly Stars Don't Twinkle. That's an atmospheric effect caused by air currents and dust particles. In space, stars are as steady and clear as searchlights.
An excellent resourced for all your realistic scifi needs is http://bautforum.com/
(Bad Astronomy and Universe Today forum) and especially http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/rocket3t.html
(Atomic Rockets) though you'll be disappointed to learn that spacewar is pretty much impossible / too unbelievably stupid to contemplate. Then again, so are aliens and FTL drives and near-lightspeed drives are a solved problem.
Review By [Prometeus
] • Date [6 Apr 10] • Rating [7 out of 10]