Obviously, it's not a good idea. The premise:

An advanced species has a plot to remove everything in our airspace and place it 1.5 million kilometers away from Earth. Their purpose is a misguided idea to study our air-faring elements. The birds, the kid skip-roping, the hot air balloons and sky-divers, etc. are in bad enough trouble, but one evil genius is aware of the plot, and will create a space-ship disguised and can function like a commercial airplane.

  1. How do the commercial airliners get destroyed (i.e. - what happens to them)?

  2. What does the evil genius have to do to his airplane to make it survive outer space? It does not need to account for re-entry to Earth, it will be returned later, the same way it was zapped out of the air.

  • $\begingroup$ Aeroplanes don't work in a near-vacuum. Air is sucked into the engine, then expelled at high velocity, take away the air and the planes can't generate thrust. $\endgroup$
    – Feyre
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 20:15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Feyre - I understand, they don't need to operate. The unprepared planes, I'm interested in what the destruction looks like; the prepared one just needs to be placed in space for a few hours and returned by Alien stuff. $\endgroup$
    – Mikey
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 20:29
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think the jump roper has a reasonable chance, if the rope or her foot is touching an object touching the ground they will be fine. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 0:26
  • $\begingroup$ How long is the exposure to the near-vacuum supposed to last? Survival is possible there for brief periods of time, see e.g. scientificamerican.com/article/… $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 0:59
  • $\begingroup$ And how are the airliners returned into the atmosphere - do they retain their airspeed at the time of removal? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 1:04

1 Answer 1


Aeroplanes keep up cabin pressure by bleeding off air from the turbine engines. Normally when engines fail and the cabin loses pressure, the crew reduces the aeroplane's altitude to 3000km to prevent decompression.

If an aeroplane is suspended in the near-vacuum of space, it will decompress, and everyone inside will die, oxygen candles used on planes last at most 20 minutes. This will occur slowly. The bleeding of vacuum would be significantly less than say from a bullet hole. It is unlikely that the planes would be destroyed, unless something damages the fuselage.

If the aeroplanes are move very rapidly out of the atmosphere, the extreme heat would tear them apart.

The primary concern for your evil genius would be to air-seal his plane, to do this with a commercial aeroplane would be extremely difficult, and expensive. He could also just get himself a space-suit with a sufficient oxygen supply.

  • $\begingroup$ But if he's in a space suit, how can he enjoy his victory champagne mid-flight? $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 21:41
  • $\begingroup$ @CortAmmon I'm sure he could adapt this $\endgroup$
    – Feyre
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 21:55
  • $\begingroup$ @Feyre I'm pretty sure the soda would explode $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 0:24
  • $\begingroup$ @XandarTheZenon Champagne bottles wouldn't. $\endgroup$
    – Feyre
    Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 12:37

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .