Can Superman Breathe in Space? Explained

Can Superman Breathe In Space

Superman is one of the most popular superheroes in the DC Universe and beyond. After his father sent him to Earth due to the destruction of Krypton, Superman adapted to Earth’s conditions and atmosphere. So, if he adapted to Earth’s atmosphere and needs air to live, many fans have been wondering, can Superman breathe in space?

Superman can’t breathe in space as there is no air in space. However, he can survive in space because he can hold his breath very long. However, through the years of developing Superman’s character in the comics, his ability regarding breathing in space had various interpretations.

So if he isn’t able to breathe in space, how come he is able to spend so much time in space on recon missions or fighting off bad guys?

How does Superman survive in space without breathing?

When Superman came to Earth, his body adapted to Earth’s atmosphere and the cosmic radiation of the Sun. Along with his super strength, speed, ability to fly, laser vision, and many more abilities, he also developed the skill to hold his breath for an extremely long time.

That being said, while Superman can’t breathe in space because there is no air to breathe there, he can inhale air on Earth and then hold his breath in space. However, not even Superman can’t hold his breath forever. There is no definitive answer to how long exactly he can hold his breath.

As portrayed in the comics, Kal-El spends time in space very often, either on recon missions, fighting aliens, or in the Justice League’s off-Earth base. On some occasions, he actually wears a breathing apparatus or a space suit. This only proves that, while he may be able to hold his breath in space, sometimes that’s not enough or it just isn’t convenient for him to take the trip down to Earth to get some air while in the middle of a battle.

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Breathing apparatus & Space Suit

Superman’s breathing apparatus is a special device that helps him to breathe in space. It is made of a special material that filters out harmful gases and allows him to breathe freely. The apparatus is also equipped with a small oxygen tank that provides him with air when he needs it. This makes it more convenient for him to spend more time in space than having to go back to Earth to catch a breath every once in a while.

Superman was sometimes also equipped with a space suit that was created for him by Emil Hamilton, a director of S.T.A.R. Labs. The material the suit was made of is unknown, but it was very durable and had rocket thrusters in the feet for space travel. Superman used this suit so he could roam freely and safely through space.

How did Superman breathe on General Zod’s ship?

The ship that General Zod was on had an artificial atmosphere similar to the one on Krypton. When Superman removed his breathing apparatus he immediately started to choke but gradually adapted. This is because the ship was designed for Kryptonians, and therefore had an atmosphere that only they could breathe in. However, Superman was also able to breathe on Zod’s ship because he can adapt to different atmospheres.

Can Superman Survive Without Breathing?

This is a question that has been debated by many fans over the years. The answer to this question is not simple and that is due to the fact that Superman’s powers have been inconsistently shown since his inception for example his immortality or lack of it has been debated many times.

In the Golden Age, Earth-2 Superman, Fleischer Films, and Superman on Television in the 60s, etc, the emphasis was more on the ‘human’ part of Superman and he was not able to survive without breathing but could go much longer without oxygen than a regular human.

Later on, in the Earth-1 version and Silver Age DC started increasing Superman’s powers and the emphasis was more on his ‘super’ side. He became bigger than the other heroes of the DC Universe and his powers let him go without breathing

Modern versions of Man Of Steel also show some inconsistencies regarding this question. In the comics, for the most part, the only time he lost the ability to go without breathing and interacting in space was during Byrne’s Man of Steel era. 

So, as you can see, there is probably no definitive answer to this question, and is open to interpretation.

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Can Superman Breathe In Space?

To conclude this topic, let’s sum all this up. No, Superman can’t breathe in space because there is no air in space to breathe, but Superman has the ability to hold his breath for long periods of time. Sometimes when in space, Superman uses breathing apparatus or a space suit that was made for him in S.T.A.R. Labs. Whether he needs oxygen to survive or is cosmic radiation such as Sun’s enough for him to survive is very debatable.

  • Josip Sovar

    Josip Sovar is a part-time writer based in Krizevci, Croatia. He is a law student at Faculty of Law at University of Zagreb. Josip’s expertise includes Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, MCU, and more or less any other superhero-related TV show or movie. He’s also prone to learning...