|MadSci Network: Astronomy|
John, Water has been observed both in outer space and on several planets and moons. Earth is the only place, so far, where water is known to exist in the liquid phase. Water vapor has been found essentially everywhere. It is believed (or hypothesized) that solid water (ice) exists on some planets and moons. Much speculation and debate is currently occurring as to how much water is really present on some of the planets or moons. I believe that your question really is -- If liquid water is suddenly put into outer space, will it boil or freeze? The most correct answer is: Both! If you check the scientific definitions of freezing and of boiling you will find that what occurs can be interpreted as both. The observations of the water released from the space shuttle show that it both evaporates and freezes and that the resulting ice then quickly sublimates (converts directly from the solid to the gas phase). You can find helpful information indirectly related to your question using, for example, the Search feature on the Spacelink page from the Marshall Space Flight Center. NASA Spacelink Two good hits can be viewed at: Boiling process at zero gravity What happens to the waste water that is dumped ...? John Haberman
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