Does an explosion in space produce pressure waves?
Is a spacecraft affected, if a bomb explodes in space nearby? Or will nothing happen, as space does not include molecules, through which the energy can move?
Bombs can explode in space, but the process is different from what it is on Earth. When a bomb explodes on Earth, a high-pressure wave develops, travelling through the air, but in empty space, there is nothing in which a pressure wave can spread. Although pressure waves do not exist in space, explosions are still hazardous, as hot gases and fragments spread in all directions. In Earth’s atmosphere, objects are slowed down by the air, which absorbs much of the explosion energy, but in space, there is no brake. Consequently, the explosion material will spread very fast, and even a spacecraft far away could be destroyed. Supernovas are the greatest explosions in the universe, which emit hot gases at a speed of thousands of km/h.
Cassiopeia A is the remains of a 300-year-old supernova. Hot gases are still emitted at a speed of 400 km/second.