Note: this question uses third party worlds and species to illustrate the point, but it is not in any way about them, therefore this question is not off-topic. I checked.

I have just finished watching the new series Resident Alien, when a sudden thought hit me. That cold-blooded alien is standing completely naked in an environment that was cold enough to refreeze broken ice.

I thought it was odd until I realized this was not the first time something like this has happened. We have seen other aliens with reptilian or amphibian features and probably less than warm blood survive frigid climates that would naturally freeze a human seemingly unscathed, and a lot of the time without so much as a stitch of an environmental suit to offer any form of protection. Now once you take into account the dozens of icy moons and cold planets in our own solar system, it would seem that any cold-blooded traveler would need something to keep themselves warm if they land on the wrong kind of planet, since to do otherwise is a death sentence.

So here is my question: What technological solutions would a cold-blooded race of interstellar explorers use to keep themselves warm?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Some time ago I was scammed into buying a LED lighting for my terrarium for the winter, now I had to hand buried my terrapins T_T $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Jan 28, 2021 at 11:32
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    $\begingroup$ One imagines they could simply wear clothes and enjoy weird fashions. The naked one you saw was obviously a pervert. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Jan 28, 2021 at 14:59
  • $\begingroup$ why do you assume those aliens are cold blooded? OTOH, it would not be improbable that a cold blooded species doesn't invent clothing, since it wouldn't help them to keep warm. $\endgroup$
    – ths
    Jul 2, 2021 at 17:05
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    $\begingroup$ @thsactually cloths would help a cold blooded animal stay warm, cold blooded animals still produce metabolic heat. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Jul 2, 2021 at 21:35

4 Answers 4


The solution is rather trivial: electric resistance heated suits.

I saw something similar when I visited mount Palomar observatory: until not too long ago being an astronomer meant staying up at night to monitor the observation, and the telescopes were necessarily open to limit distortions caused by temperature differences. Since frozen/chilled astronomers tend to perform poor or no observations, they have to be kept warm, and the suits used for that purpose were on display. They had electrical resistances across the fabric and a power supply to feed them.

I think the solution is borrowed from the uniforms of the bombers crew during WWII, who had to be kept warm while flying in an aluminum case in freezing cold air.

Something similar can be used in this case, in a more fashionable look than the ones I have seen, like a skin tight seamless suit.


Same way warm blooded do.

With the comfortable range of temperatures one may encounter on Earth, the difference between Warm-blooded and Cold-blooded animals is notable. Earths range of temperature for 99% of the surface is a tiny 40 or 50 degrees C range- nothing compared to the hostile temperatures of space.

Humans will freeze to death basically everywhere, even with our warm blood. Mars is -60 degrees C. Ceres is -38 degrees C, Ganymede is like 160 Kelvin.

Warm blood or cold blood, you're going to freeze to death without a heater.

So - they'll have heaters, because space has lots of cold places. The fact that they're cold blooded is, given the range of temperatures in space, basically irelevant.


What technological solutions would a cold-blooded race of interstellar explorers use to keep themselves warm?

We are talking about aliens here, not some kind of lizard

Who said aliens need anything to keep themselves warm?

Aliens could be the exact opposite of humans, maybe they need to keep themselves cold enough to not "dry" out or something, so they actually need to be on those cold places to be able to survive.

Also, if you assume they do need to keep themselves warm, then they could have such a great skin protection from temperature and climate changes that would allow them to survive most of the environments that are harmful to us, humans, because our skin and fat doesn't protect us enough as the aliens would.

Or if you don't want to use biological reasons, then they probably would have such a technology that they could have "warming-devices" inside their own bodies, allowing them to survive naked on various temperatures because the device would cool them down or warm them up when needed, you know, typical alien technology level.


Genetic engineering

These aliens are standing naked on a world upon which they did not originate. Whatever evolution prepared them for, it wasn't this.

They're probably pretty smart. They did cross the distances between stars, after all. So, they probably know better than to take off their helmets and body suits if doing so would be fatal. It follows that the alien knows it's safe to expose itself to this strange atmosphere. And that's probably not merely a happy coincidence.

Maybe their home planet is inhospitable. Maybe it's just overcrowded. The point has already passed when new members of the species are more likely to spend their lives primarily in space.

Existing in space is not like existing on a planet, largely because of the gravity, but also for other reasons. This species has probably spent a few generations in space. They've had plenty of time to recognize what are the "rough edges" in their biology in a space-faring context.

Humans discovered genetic engineering before they were able to reach the stars, so why not these aliens?

They rebuilt themselves. They had the technology. Better than they were before. Better, stronger, faster warmer.


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