During the episode "Get Schwifty" (episode 5 of season 2) of Rick and Morty, the Earth is teleported instantaneously to the game show area of the Heads for their (somewhat forced) participation of the Cosmic Genocidal version of the soundmix show.

Directly after teleportation Rick mentions that all astronauts around the Earth have died.

How long did the astronauts on the ISS survive? And what did they die of?

  • This seems to be less of a Sci-Fi and Fantasy Question and more of a "What would happen to the astronauts on the ISS if the Earth suddenly disappeared. I don't think this question is quite on topic, so I've edited it to hopefully keep the question your asking but making it more on topic.
    – Edlothiad
    Feb 5, 2017 at 19:50
  • Thinking about it further, I don't see how one could give a canonical answer to this question, however using the idea of what would happen in the real world you could probably give a list of possibilities.
    – Edlothiad
    Feb 5, 2017 at 19:58
  • I've edited the question body as suggested by Valorum to get it re-opened.
    – Edlothiad
    Feb 6, 2017 at 9:24
  • This seems a question for xkcd's what-if
    – Bardo
    Sep 4, 2020 at 10:59

1 Answer 1


This might be the most obvious answer but the ISS would fly off into space. Why? Well to keep it simple the ISS is continuously falling toward the earth but it is just going fast enough that it more or less falls "around" the earth. How Do Satellites Get & Stay in Orbit?

To keep doing that the ISS and all objects in orbit around the earth (or any other celestial body) has to have a lot of momentum, which means that when the Earth disappeared the gravity that anchored the ISS to the Earth disappeared with it making the ISS fly off into space.

This on its own probably did not kill the astronauts (assuming they did not crash into something) but eventually they probably ran out of food. I have heard that the ISS can survive for around half a year on its own so they probably just shot off to somewhere else. How Long Can The ISS Survive Without New Supplies?

But I do feel bad about those astronauts, Earth disappeared, their home gone and now they are alone, in space, with no home to return to waiting out their days till their inevitable death.

  • Indeed. Unless they brought the moon with the earth exactly the same thing would happen to it, so we'd have either lost the moon or extremely f@*ked up it's orbit, leading to the near future extinction of life on earth :) Jul 25, 2017 at 12:13
  • and thats the thing, when the earth reappears, the moon is still right where it was. It should have shot off as soon as the earth disappeared also. Apr 6, 2018 at 17:29
  • Satelites orbiting the Earth are also orbiting the sun, and that orbit does not get tanked by Earth vanishing, so "fly off into space" is a nonstarter.
    – Lexible
    Aug 9, 2020 at 4:41

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