In the future, space travel is common, so common, in fact, that commercial transport is available to most people, like air travel is to us.
As a passenger on a vessel of Galactic Spacelines, half way to your destination, you hear this announcement:
"Attention passengers, this is captain speaking. Due to an emergency, we will be experiencing a loss of pressure in the cabin. Safety equipment is being deployed, please use it in accordance with pre-flight orientation. Ask a steward if you need assistance."
My question is this: What safety equipment is deployed for most of the passengers to survive this event until it ends? (I imagine that at the least this will be airtight oxygen masks for each passenger that completely cover the face, and possibly "space blankets" or clothes to help them retain heat.)
For your choice of equipment, please also answer the following:
- The cabin may be able to retain some aspects of normal parameters, such as partial pressure. Are there limits to the situations your equipment can handle, such as a minimum pressure under which the safety equipment becomes useless?
- How much medical attention will the passengers need after this event, using your equipment?
- Since this is about survival, that is the number one priority; comfort is less important.
- Also, to reduce complexity and chance for user error, the Spaceline is (ahem) interested in keeping costs as low as possible.
- You can set some conditions on the cabin, like what pressure and temperature it is reduced to.
- This question is about a (semi) planned loss in pressure, not a sudden drop to hard vacuum, since that would be very difficult to survive, though solutions that can handle that are welcome. The loss in pressure to emergency levels will be gradual, over no less than 30 seconds.
- Assume that the ship has enough resources to run emergency equipment until the event ends. (air, energy, etc.)
- Assume that within 24 hours one of the following happens:
- The ship has made contact and rescue comes
- The ship continues and arrives at the destination
- Repairs can be made to restore normal conditions to the cabin