What specific power does Superman as a Kryptonian have in order to be able to survive flying through space?

Do Kryptonians not need oxygen? Or if he can hold his breath for that long, shouldn't the vacuum of space suck the air out of his lungs or is that just how Super he is?


2 Answers 2


Kryptonians absolutely need oxygen. When Superman exerts himself in battle (or when lifting a battleship or what have you), he is often seen breathing heavily afterwards - he obviously needs the greater oxygen intake. It's possible, of course, that he actually requires one of the other common gasses in the atmosphere, but I'm fairly certain it's good old oxygen he breathes.

Superman can hold his breath for a long time, and his invulnerable physiology makes it safe for him to do so in a vacuum. Generally, this means he can absolutely travel for a short distance in space without problem.

In the 90s animated series he's shown in some form of space suit when he travels in space for long periods (or in a spaceship, which of course provides air). Outside of that, or when this isn't possible, he's typically seen with another character (such as a Green Lantern) that can provide atmosphere.

In the silver age comics (notably the 60s) Superman was seen to fly through the vacuum of space without trouble, frequently talking to his cousin (SuperGirl) through super-hypnotism.

In short, this has changed (frequently) through the ages and mediums. With the New52 reboot, we will have to wait and see.

  • yeah thats what i thought too, i always see him with a space suit in long travels. well i just watched the JLDoom again and it seems it was only for 8+ minutes he held his breath, he's just really fast then. great answer though.
    – Sid
    Commented Mar 14, 2012 at 1:04
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    Super-hypnotism? Um don't you mean telepathy? Because that would make more sense you know seeing as hypnotism means to put someone into a trance in order to find out certain things like about past lives or something that's hidden in their subconscious however telepathy is the art/ability to read ones minds or communicate without the use speech i.e. talking with each others minds so others can't hear you.
    – user10638
    Commented Nov 5, 2012 at 4:02
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    No, that would make sense. Super-hypnotism. I even recall one time he and Supergirl were in space and the narrator's yellow boxes explicitly said they were talking through syper-hypnotism.
    – Jeff
    Commented Nov 5, 2012 at 20:49

After Death of Superman, most of the time he didn't need oxygen, or food, or anything. His body is completely sustained by solar energy through a form of photosynthesis. Which also explains how in the future he goes to reside in the Sun for thousands of years.

He's travelled galactic distances and can even talk in space, regardless of how dumb that sounds.

Only a couple of stories, such as Exile, which was written out continuity later on, and then in New Krypton story did he actually need a breathing apparatus.

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