Gorlom wrote:Obviously they need air for their cooling fans. without some way of expelling heat (the vacuum of space is cold but there's no way for the engi design to transfer it out) they overheat and malfunction.
And I have no idea why they aren't water cooled or some such.
Water cooling is merely a way to transfer heat from CPU to air. At the end, it is always air that carries the waste heat away.
Unless we're talking about thermal power plants that are almost always located at the shore and permanently connected to a sea, lake or river. To cool smth you have to have access to continuous stream of some medium.
As a historic note: first human EVA was greatly complicated because Voskhod-2 computers were air cooled. So cosmonauts could not simply close their visors and open the hatch (because that's overheat all electronics and render their craft unable to return). They had to carry, install and operate an inflatable airlock (which nearly killed the first man in space, because it was too tight to turn around inside). Another thing: Leonov severely overheated himself. His body temp increased by 1.8°C in 20 minutes and he was on the verge of a heatstroke.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voskhod_2# ... VA_details
So yeah, it's pretty reasonable that lack of atmosphere kills electronics.
(aside of the fact that Engis are partially organic, as Darthcaboose wrote, in a first place)