What temperature is faced by astronauts and satellites in the space?

Had there been the atmosphere in the space like that on the Earth, intermixing currents of warm and cold air might have made the temperature more temperate, but that is not the case as there is neither gravity nor air in the space. Hence, wherever sunrays penetrate, there is tremendous heat, and wherever they are absent, the temperature is so frigid that freezing cold of the Siberian winter is cozy in comparison. Usually, space shuttle, as well as satellites, makes one orbit around the Earth in 90 minutes (or less if the orbit is lower). As the Sun’s rays fall on the satellite, the temperature rises to 122◦ Celsius. But when the satellite passes from the sunny side of the Earth to the dark side where there are no sun rays, the temperature plummets to 180◦ Celsius below the freezing point! In short, there is a swing of 302◦ Celsius between cold and heat in the space.

As the sunrays travel farther in the space, it is but natural that the heat goes on diminishing. Suppose a satellite is sent to orbit around Pluto which is the farthest (dwarf) planet from the Sun, it will encounter a temperature of 211◦ Celsius below the freezing-point even in sunlight. Beyond Pluto, space has a temperature of minus 270◦. This temperature is known as cosmic background temperature in astronomical terms.

Bob Singer, NASA Mission Manager, while answering a question on Quora, explained in detail as to how astronauts can fight extreme temperatures. Mr. Singer stated that the survival of both astronauts and satellites is made possible through thermal controls. In their absence, the temperature would change so drastically that it will not be possible for the astronauts to be able to make it another day. While the temperature soars to as much as 250 degrees F and on the dark side, plummets to minus 250 degrees F, there would be a comfortable spot somewhere in the middle of the station, but locating it would not be much fun either. 

When it comes to space and astronauts carrying out their daily activities in outer space, it is a matter of isolation. A blanket, for instance, is a perfect example, which is used to keep you warm by insulating the heat produced by your body. Similarly, aeronautical suits designed by NASA feature heaters as well as insulation systems. These spacesuits consist of heating elements that are responsible for protecting the astronauts from extreme cold. Australian company Jett has incorporated the same technology in making a heated vest to be sold publicly. It uses rechargeable Lithium Polymer batteries combined with flexible heating coils. This is a perfect way to keep yourself toasty during extremely cold temperatures.

Another high-tech insulating material was designed by NASA. This high-tech insulator made use of microencapsulated phase-change materials. What this means is that the materials would change their phase i.e., from liquid to solid and then solid to liquid, depending on the temperature. This technology was introduced for use in astronaut glove liners. As the temperature of the body rises, the material absorbs the heat, whereas when it drops, the material provides heat to keep things warm. 

Lastly, if you were thinking as to whether standing on Mars without a spacesuit is possible, let us inform you, it is not. You will not survive. The reason being, that while the temperature is maybe fine, but the air pressure on Mars is less than 1% of Earth’s normal. Things will start to boil, including your blood and fluids in your body. Soon you will feel a temporary feeling of coldness since everything has evaporated before you die. Therefore, living in space is not easy; if there is something that is keeping the astronauts alive out there, it is the spacesuits.