Suppose that alien nanobots can alter human bodies by mutation and gene editing, such as recreating their digestive system to allow them to eat synthetics and plastics in order to produce natural body armor for their skin. What would be the mechanics and attributes if they altered a human for being able to survive in a vacuum for long periods like hours or days?

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    $\begingroup$ Does this question address your needs? The vacuumorph seems like what you're looking for . worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/202562/… $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Aug 13, 2021 at 17:55
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    $\begingroup$ I'd suggest taking a look at What does the physiology and biochemistry of a vacuum adapted post-human look like? Part 1: Radiation resistance and also the other four parts. $\endgroup$
    – Rob Watts
    Aug 13, 2021 at 21:09
  • $\begingroup$ "mutation and gene editing" - won't work, main reason oxygen - that mod won't help one to store enough for a day. it possible to imagine some liquified oxygen backpack or something of that sort, but it looks less in the realm of biology and more in the realm of technology. with nanotech, once the energy problem is addressed, a fist-size device may keep humans alive for as long as there is energy - alive and well. otherwise even rebuilding humans from scratch to nonhuman does not help that much but at least there are some possibilities - so u need to think about your constraints, probably. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Aug 13, 2021 at 21:31
  • $\begingroup$ A score of the q: high on opinion component, low on details or context, biology aspect so as nanotech usage in the opinion of a self-proclaimed expert is poor (6,3,3) out of 10 $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Aug 13, 2021 at 21:39
  • $\begingroup$ There seem to be a couple problems here: one is that I'm not convinced that this is a duplicate of the linked series of questions; the other, is that as written your marquee question is completely different from the body of your question. If you really want a "biological spacesuit", then the question body should reflect that. If you really want to alter the form and structure of the human body, then the marquee question should reflect that. As for now, I'll vote to leave closed until you decide which question you want to ask! $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Aug 15, 2021 at 19:17

2 Answers 2


It wouldn't take much, it only has to hold in 1 ATM of pressure (at the most). Any reasonable sealed carapace should do the trick. Being sealed would also prevent moisture loss.

The trick would be oxygen storage.

There are high density nano sponges that can hold more hydrogen than their volume would suggest. I don't know if that would adapt to oxygen though.

Maybe chemically bond the O2 to form a solid. The main thing is that the bond would have to be weak enough that you are net positive after metabolizing the O2.

  • $\begingroup$ You don't even need a sealed carapace, just tension fibers in the skin will be enough. Skin can survive exposure to vacuum as long as enough pressure is applied to it so it doesn't balloon out. See the MIT Bio-Suit, which is a porous fabric space suit (except at the hands, feet, and head). $\endgroup$
    – causative
    Aug 14, 2021 at 12:04
  • $\begingroup$ Heat is also an issue. You'd probably need some sort of radiative cooling system to dispose of body heat. $\endgroup$
    – BMF
    Aug 14, 2021 at 13:11

In theory it is possible. Bacteria has been able to clump together to survive in space for years with the outer layer of bacteria protecting the rest. We have also found a way to turn E. coli bacteria into nanobots. So, you can potentially find a way to create a suit of bacteria nanobots (or have the microbes act like such nanobots) with the potential to have these microbes 'bond' with the humans similar to skin. Then, to make it easier for humans to survive in space in addition to a skintight living suit that can spend years in space without dying by modifying cells to be more resistant to the effects of radiation. The suit can also have some of the microbes remove carbon dioxide and add tiny bits of oxygen (not enough to make up the astronauts entire supply, but give a little extra to help with removal of CO2)


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