If we went to deep space by a spacecraft and released water into space, what would happen? Would the water freeze to ice or would it remain as a liquid?


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Liquid water can't exist in a vacuum. Water in space (atmosphere, no gravity) tends to form into a ball, but take away the atmosphere and it would rapidly fly apart. It actually wouldn't look like boiling. You get boiling on Earth because water is held in a pot by gravity. In empty space the water would rapidly and somewhat explosively disburse.

This article says it would look something like what happens when you throw hot water into very very cold air and it rapidly turns to snow. That's probably a pretty good visual image if you imagine no gravity and everything would just continue to fly apart, not slow by air resistance or fall to the Earth.

In cold space the water would freeze, but some of the liquid would also effectively also boil away, even in very cold temperature because liquid isn't stable in a vacuum. As I said, some of it would boil, but it wouldn't look like boiling, It would fly apart faster than it would freeze but you'd also see it freeze fairly rapidly. If the water was enclosed, freezing would take some time, but in a vacuum and spreading out, it would freeze into snow and ice crystals rapidly.

A percentage of the water would become gas and that would help carry some heat away from the remaining water, speeding up the freezing process. That gas would fly away at high velocity and not be visible. If you collected and weighed the ice-crystals after the water was tossed into space you'd probably find that a percentage of the water escaped as gas.

You can get an idea of water turning into ice by heat transfer and escape from forming into gas molecules in a video that show what happens to water in a vacuum chamber. A vacuum chamber can't replicate the rapid spreading out due zero gravity but it demonstrates the water turning to ice, even at room temperature. Here's one video of that.


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