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What would liquid nitogen do in space ?
Question Date: 2007-01-12
Answer 1:

On earth, Nitrogen exists mainly as a gas. Under a lot of pressure in a tank we can make the nitrogen into liquid. Then when it is released from the tank it rapidly starts to boil turning back into a gas. The temperature in space is much colder than it is on the earth so the nitrogen would remain as a liquid. It is even believed that on some of Neptune's moons there are volcanoes that erupt liquid Nitrogen.

Answer 2:

If you took LN2 up into space, and kept it in a space craft with earth-like conditions, nothing extraordinary would happen.It would behave like it does on earth, except that the liquid wouldn't just bubble out, it would flow out while spreading itself out and evaporating (it wouldn't bubble out and drop to the ground, since there is effectively no buoyancy effect while in free-fall).

If you actually threw that LN2 into vacuum, then it would drop the pressure on the liquid and it would evaporate into nitrogen gas. As the gas cooled, it would remain in its gas form (since at 2.73 Kelvin even solid nitrogen would sublimate into gas at extremely low pressure).

So in this case, it would behave much less interesting than water, since water would evaporate into a gas at room temperature and low pressure, but then as it cooled to the effective radioactive temperature of the vacuum, it would crystallize into ice.

Answer 3:

It would boil. Any liquid in space will boil.

Any liquid exists in a state with the gas above it: molecules from the gas become part of the liquid, and molecules in the liquid leave and become part of the gas. If there is no gas of the liquid's molecules, the liquid creates one by releasing some molecules, causing the liquid to evaporate. If the gas that the liquid gives off is of higher pressure than the gas around it, then the gas expands and lowers its pressure, requiring the liquid to release more molecules, and soon there won't be any liquid left. This is what boiling means, and this is why water boils at lower temperatures in the mountains: the air is thinner up there. In space, there is no air, so any gas at all will expand away, and thus, any liquid exposed to space would boil, regardless of the temperature.

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