In the movie Life (2017), Calvin is outside the space station. Calvin is shown to be an organic life-form that is Carbon based. They mention that it needs food, oxygen, and a suitable temperature to survive. Outerspace has none of these. Yet, Calvin is shown to comfortably move around outside the ship and survive. The same Calvin goes into a dormant state earlier in the film when there is an atmospheric accident. What's the deal here? How is it able to breathe outside the space station?

  • Hugh mentions that Calvin may be able to "store" oxygen (presumably within his own cells) for an unknown amount of time.
    – Möoz
    Jun 4, 2017 at 22:05
  • 1
    Nothing precludes him simply being able to hold his breaht longer than a human. The other environmental problems people face in free space didn't seem to really bother him.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Jul 16, 2020 at 22:23
  • @NapoleonWilson .. fair point.
    – John
    Aug 11, 2020 at 17:35

1 Answer 1


We don't know whether Calvin is actually "comfortable" outside, or desperately fighting for its life on quickly depleting oxygen reserves - the latter could be an in-universe explanation.

But realistically, you're right, it does not make much sense. If Calvin can survive for several minutes without any atmosphere at all, then a slight drop in pressure or oxygen content (which still allows humans to survive) should be no problem, as opposed to making Calvin stupidly follow a trail of "oxygen torches" (whatever that's supposed to be).

As a review I read put it quit aptly: "Life" is a pretty good horror movie, but a pretty weak science fiction story.

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