Author Topic: Did astronauts carry cyanide pills?  (Read 458 times)

Offline apollo16uvc

  • Venus
  • **
  • Posts: 75
  • Where no telescope has gone before.
    • Apollo 16 UVC
Did astronauts carry cyanide pills?
« on: June 07, 2017, 02:24:57 PM »
Do you think early astronauts and cosmonauts carried cyanide pills, or any suicide substance with them?

Mercury, Gemini and Apollo.
Ultraviolet light photography rules!
Apollo 16
Skylab

Offline Northern Lurker

  • Venus
  • **
  • Posts: 49
Re: Did astronauts carry cyanide pills?
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2017, 02:31:22 PM »
I think they didn't because they don't need to. Just start slow cabin depressurisation and as partial pressure of oxygen goes down you slowly fade into sleep and to death.

Lurky

Offline ka9q

  • Neptune
  • ****
  • Posts: 2833
Re: Did astronauts carry cyanide pills?
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2017, 02:45:47 PM »
Jim Lovell addresses this issue in his book "Lost Moon". He expresses consternation at the persistence of this rumor, and makes the same point about how easy it would be to commit suicide in space by simply bleeding down the cabin atmosphere.

Offline Glom

  • Jupiter
  • ***
  • Posts: 939
Re: Did astronauts carry cyanide pills?
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2017, 02:34:47 PM »
Yeah. The last thing they need is to add more weight to the spacecraft.

Offline raven

  • Saturn
  • ****
  • Posts: 1228
Re: Did astronauts carry cyanide pills?
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2017, 10:23:33 PM »
Jim Lovell addresses this issue in his book "Lost Moon". He expresses consternation at the persistence of this rumor, and makes the same point about how easy it would be to commit suicide in space by simply bleeding down the cabin atmosphere.
In fact, it's the first thing mentioned, in fact.

Offline smartcooky

  • Saturn
  • ****
  • Posts: 1394
Re: Did astronauts carry cyanide pills?
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2017, 12:51:03 AM »
Yeah. The last thing they need is to add more weight to the spacecraft.

And besides which, death by cyanide poisoning is not exactly a pleasant way to check out! It is a painful, protracted death that takes minutes rather than seconds.

A slow-bleeding off of the cabin pressure would be a far "nicer" way to die.
► What you can assert without evidence, I can dismiss without evidence
► When you argue with idiots you risk being dragged down to their level and beaten with experience.
►"Conspiracism is a shortcut to the illusion of erudition

Offline ka9q

  • Neptune
  • ****
  • Posts: 2833
Re: Did astronauts carry cyanide pills?
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2017, 06:19:35 AM »
Actually, they're very similar. The cyanide ion has a strong affinity for iron, specifically the iron in cytochrome c oxidase, an enzyme within our mitochondria that allows them to use oxygen. Cyanide poisoning is essentially suffocation.

Cyanide's affinity for iron is so strong that when it enters the body already bound to iron in the form of "Prussian Blue" it is essentially nontoxic.

Offline smartcooky

  • Saturn
  • ****
  • Posts: 1394
Re: Did astronauts carry cyanide pills?
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2017, 08:03:05 PM »
Actually, they're very similar. The cyanide ion has a strong affinity for iron, specifically the iron in cytochrome c oxidase, an enzyme within our mitochondria that allows them to use oxygen. Cyanide poisoning is essentially suffocation.

Cyanide's affinity for iron is so strong that when it enters the body already bound to iron in the form of "Prussian Blue" it is essentially nontoxic.


Yes, but that effect is a sudden and painful way to die. What I am talking about is a very slow drop in pressure.

The result is something very similar to what happen on Helios Flight 522 some years back, where the pressurization valve was incorrectly set to "manual", and everyone on board just drifted off to sleep as the pressure slowly dropped. While the passengers were all alive when the plane crashed, in all likelihood, they were unconscious having been at 34,000 feet for over 2½ hours, they would have eventually died in their sleep from oxygen starvation.
► What you can assert without evidence, I can dismiss without evidence
► When you argue with idiots you risk being dragged down to their level and beaten with experience.
►"Conspiracism is a shortcut to the illusion of erudition

Offline raven

  • Saturn
  • ****
  • Posts: 1228
Re: Did astronauts carry cyanide pills?
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2017, 08:25:14 AM »
And then there was Soyuz 11, the only deaths in space in the astronautical sense of the word, when the cabins incorrectly vented, leading to depressurization and the crew  asphyxiating.