Watch: What Happens if You Fire a Gun in Space?
Russ Chastain 03.14.18
“Let’s pretend you’re in space, and you brought a gun.” So says this video’s narrator; and of course, why wouldn’t you bring a gun? There’s ETs and stuff!
In this post on Live Science, it’s explained that although there’s no oxygen in outer space, gunpowder has its own oxidizer, and will certainly burn rapidly (she says “explode,” but that’s technically incorrect).
But will you be flung backward at a rapid pace? Not so much; a human body has a lot more mass than a bullet, so it won’t move you rapidly.
If the bullet leaves the gun barrel at 1,000 meters per second, you — because you’re much more massive than it is — will head the other way at only a few centimeters per second.
They further claim that the bullet would never stop moving, “because the universe is expanding faster than the bullet.” This seems to me like a silly assumption; what if the bullet hits another object, like, say, a planet? But scientists and common sense are not always married…
There would be no trail or plume of smoke, but instead a round cloud of smoke.
You would also keep moving until/unless you encountered something to change that.
The article also notes that while orbiting a planet, you could actually shoot yourself in the back if the bullet were fired juuuust right. Or, I guess, “just wrong.”
Again, you can read about it here after you check out the video below.