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In one scene of Avengers: Infinity War, Ebony Maw is torturing Dr Strange for the Time Stone when Iron Man interrupts. After a brief chat, Iron Man opens fire and blows a hole in the ship's wall. Ebony Maw is ejected out into space, and Dr. Strange is ''nearly'' ejected too, but his cape and Spider-Man catch him and drag him back onto the ship before Iron man seals the hole. Ebony Maw dies in space, of course.

My question is this: Before Dr. Strange was grabbed, he was briefly in space. Since he was a human being, the exposure should have killed him. Why didn't he die? Does he possess any superpowers that would have allowed him to survive?

  • 3
    Just read about effects of decompression into space.
    – Mithoron
    Commented Jul 15, 2018 at 21:17
  • Lazy writing. It wasn't only Dr. Strange that should've been sucked into the vacuum of space.
    – Scotty
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 0:59
  • characters can survive in space for a bit of time. look at Peter Quill (Star Lord) and Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy who were exposed out in space for a while, Peter longer still than Gamora yet both still survived when the Ravagers picked them up
    – Memor-X
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 1:45
  • If you think, if the question is not properly written please Edit. I don't know why its down voted. I am thinking it is a proper question.
    – Mr ASquare
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 6:37

1 Answer 1


Being blown into space isn't instantly lethal nor do people suddenly freeze over when exposed to space. This is a tv/movie trope which ignores basic physics.

This article from Scientific American has some interesting points

In reality, however, animal experiments and human accidents have shown that people can likely survive exposure to vacuum conditions for at least a couple of minutes. Not that you would remain conscious long enough to rescue yourself, but if your predicament was accidental, there could be time for fellow crew members to rescue and repressurize you with few ill effects.

and this from a different source

After losing consciousness, you’ll probably last a couple of minutes maximum before you die. Of course, there’s all that nasty UV from the Sun which is going to give you horrific sunburn. UV and other high energy photons (X-rays and gamma radiation) would also damage the heck out of your DNA, leading to mutations that would likely cause cancer (if you survived). It’s also typically extremely cold, but you wouldn’t instantly freeze as the vacuum would cause heat to transfer away from the body very slowly.

In sum- you’d swell up, burn, mutate, pass out and your lungs might explode. Lovely. But don’t worry, if you’re ever in this sticky situation, you’ve probably got a solid minute or two to be rescued before you die, so chin up.

Of course these are the scientific answers, in the MCU the characters have plot armor and other explanations can always apply.

  • 1
    This happened before in-universe: In the first Guardians of the Galaxy, Quill did throw himself into space to save Gomora. He didn't die instantly, he started freezing up but Yondo was able to save him after a few minutes. Dr. Strange didn't even stay a quarter of that time in space. Also Maw scene was shown after, so it doesn't proof that Maw died instantly, the scene might have actually happened 10 minutes later. And to be fair, Dr. Strange wasn't in space per se. He was right in front of the hole. He could breath all that time. Commented Sep 2, 2018 at 18:54
  • 1
    Also note that Strange is not technically in a (still) vacuum. He is in a stream of air (which is what's pulling him out). Very analogously, Strange in that stream of air is like a fish swimming up a waterfall (and the waterfall lands on rocks - as inhospitable to the fish as the vacuum of space is to Strange). While the fish is not technically in the river, it's still submerged in water and not on the rocks yet.
    – Flater
    Commented Sep 28, 2018 at 9:50

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