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How do objects in space lose heat?
For example a shuttle.
I thought heat loss occured because it traveled from one molecule to another with less heat. If youre not touching anything in space, how do you lose heat?
- Andre Reid (age 21)
Brooklyn, NY, U.S.A.
The mechanism you're thinking of- conduction- is just one of several.
In space, the main mechanism is the radiation of electromagnetic
energy. For very hot objects, like light bulb filaments, you're
familiar with that process because you can see the results. The same
process goes on at any temperature, but at lower temperature only low
frequency radiation, not visible, is produced. At around room
temperature, the radiation frequencies extend up into the infrared
(republished on 07/27/06)
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