The Expanse has been painstakingly crafted to be as scientifically accurate as possible, so we'd be doing the whole universe a disservice if we didn't call out all of the minutiae that make the show the most realistic look at the future we've ever seen. We sat down with Daniel Abraham, Mark Fergus, and Hawk Ostby, the co-creators and producers (Daniel is also 1/2 of the team that wrote the book series the show is based on) to get the lowdown on the insane level of detail and intricacy they put into the science we see in the show. But how real is it? Nerds, read on.
Q: In episode eight, someone gets spaced. What happens to the human body in a vacuum?
Daniel Abraham: Well, they die very quickly. It takes about 15 seconds to die.
Mark Fergus: I hear it’s one of the nicest ways to go.
Daniel Abraham: I don’t think you’d want to try it. I think that’s probably not true. No nitrogen. I know what the nicer way to die is and that’s not it. We actually covered that in eight. The nicest way to die is in eight. You lose consciousness quickly and then slowly, over the course of weeks or months, the background heat goes away and you freeze solid.
Hawk Ostby: That's actually one of the biggest surprises, at least for me. I always imagined in space that if you were ever exposed to mine 257 degrees, you would instantly flash-freeze. That it would suck your head out and you would explode, if you took your helmet off.
Mark Fergus: Total Recall.
Hawk Ostby: Exactly. That was very interesting, that the heat transfers so slowly out there. That was a big scientific revelation, for me anyway, that there's nothing to transfer the heat off of you.
Daniel Abraham: And that ends up being related to the problem with ships in space. The problem is not keeping them from freezing, it’s keeping them from drowning in their own waste heat.
Hawk Ostby: Right. Right!
Daniel Abraham: So when we talk about the stealth technology. What it is? What it’s doing? It’s a way to sequester heat, uh, so that don’t have that radiation trail.
Hawk Ostby: Damn. I did not think of that!
Daniel Abraham: So yes, in summary, you lose a bunch of heat initially because all of the mucous membranes would evaporate really fast. And then you’d be dead.
Q: Why is Prax a soybean farmer and not a wheat or corn farmer?
Daniel Abraham: Uh, I’m sure there are wheat and corn farmers up there too, but uh, soybeans are nice.
Hawk Ostby: It’s a brand-new super soybean
Daniel Abraham: What we were looking for were staple foods. Foods that have a high protein profile and soybeans looked good. And you can make tofu out of them. Tofu is the food of the future.
Catch up on The Expanse here.