Superman is often seen floating or flying near Earth's orbit or in outer space.

What type of physiology would Superman or any humanoid life-form require to be able to withstand the vacuum of space?

There is no air in space so breathing (respiration) is not an option.

Could Superman be using an invisible atmospheric force field as part of his 'aura' (think Green Lantern) that could provide 'artificial atmosphere' for him to breathe in space?

Is there any canon explaining how Superman was able to survive in space?


1 Answer 1


In truth, the human body does mostly just fine in space. Newer space suit designs are actually porus and regulate heat by letting the astronaut sweat through them. The bodies regular thermal regulation is sufficient.

The only thing needed for baseline humans to survive is some sort of physical pressure garmet, such as tight spandex to keep the body from expanding, and a helmet to provide a breathable atomosphere.

Assuming superman has strengthened skin, the pressure won't be an issue so he would only need the ability to switch his metabolism to some form of anaerobic respiration (which we can do for a short time) or have a way of saturating his blood with much, much more oxygen which is not unlikely. Human blood is good at transporting oxygen where it needs to be but doesn't store it very well for any length of time. Substituting genes for whale blood would go a long way.

  • Maybe he's just creating his own kind of internal oxygen bottle by inhaling a lot - we just don't see it. Wouldn't be different to holding your breath, e.g. while diving. He's just far more efficient with that. Also nature has other examples of such extremes, so it's not that far off. Take ticks for example. They use very little oxygen compared to what they're able to store inside their body. This allows them to survive for days or even weeks without drowning underwater.
    – Mario
    Jul 10, 2014 at 8:57
  • @Mario I suppose Superman could pressurise air in his lungs by opening his mouth into the airflow when flying at high speed.
    – Jaydee
    Jul 10, 2014 at 9:42
  • It's ever in the cannon explained if Superman needs to breathe? I think he just don't need oxygen.
    – Bardo
    Jul 10, 2014 at 10:14
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  • Whales are fairly standard mammals and can hold their breath for hours, plus it is fairly easy to design much more efficient systems for baseline humans such as en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Respirocyte So being able to go an unreasonably long time without oxygen is one of the more plausible powers superman has. Jul 10, 2014 at 21:18

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