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What would happen if you started a fire in space (would it work)?

What would happen if you started a fire in space (would it work)?
Rebecca from Cumbria (Aged 5-14)

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2 Responses

  1. Fires need 3 things to keep going: fuel (like wood, or coal), heat (like lighting a match to start it) and oxygen – a type of gas that we find in the air.

    There isn’t any oxygen in space, so you can’t light a fire. If you want to see a demonstration of the fact that you need oxygen to have a fire, ask a parent/carer to light a small candle and then put a glass (which is much bigger than the candle so it doesn’t get too hot) upside down over the candle. After a while, you will see it go out and this is because it has used up all the oxygen under the glass.

    Hope this answers your question.

  2. Fire needs both a fuel (such as wood or petrol) and oxygen gas from the air. This reaction is called combustion. There is no air and therefore no oxygen at all in space (it’s a vacuum) so if you tried to light some fuel it wouldn’t burn. You would have to provide some oxygen gas of your own. The space shuttle rocket engines can only burn hydrogen fuel because liquefied oxygen gas has been taken up with the shuttle.

    There are explosions in space from stars but these are nuclear explosions, not combustion.

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