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Zombies in Spaaaace!

July 8, 2010

It has all the makings of a B horror flick. Somewhere in space, orbiting between Earth and Jupiter, are the undead. They alert us to their presence by a strange, otherworldly glow that baffles scientists… until it’s too late!!

New Scientist has an article today about Zombie Comets. If you look out at the dark night sky shortly before dawn, you can sometimes see a glow that is the sun reflecting off space dust. It’s called zodiacal light because it follows the same broad band of the sky as the constellations of the zodiac. Where does this dust come from?

Peter Jenniskens of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California began to investigate and found that this dust seems to come off comets. The odd thing was that there was dust in the sky that didn’t seem to come from any obvious source at all. But science never rests!

He found that a small, dark body called 2003 EH1was following an orbit similar to that of the Quadrantid meteor stream, which causes an intense meteor shower when Earth crosses its path in early January each year.

This object is a dormant comet whose icy interior has long since ceased to be troubled by the sun’s heat – either because its volatile ices are exhausted, or because they are trapped beneath a dusty crust impervious to the sun’s rays. It was not obvious how 2003 EH1 could have produced the Quadrantid stream, but Jenniskens had an idea: perhaps it was part of a larger body that had suddenly broken up, releasing a swarm of gravelly debris.

The short version? Undead comets bouncing around in space, kicking up dust in search of space-brains. The full article can be read here.

38 Comments leave one →
  1. July 8, 2010 10:02 am

    Great post! Who doesn’t love zombies and space. If the two were to collide in Hollywood I’m sure the movie would be a hit!

  2. capel permalink
    July 8, 2010 10:06 am


  3. July 8, 2010 10:11 am


    You actually made that science fascinating to me. Very cool.

    Now, come January I’m going to tell the kids those lights in the sky are zombie parts burning up in the sky.

  4. July 8, 2010 10:18 am

    Serrem, Zombie is agly… Haha

  5. July 8, 2010 10:41 am

    Great post! I read it because I love zombies, you tricked me into learning! 😉

  6. July 8, 2010 11:31 am

    zombies and learning… awesome!

  7. July 8, 2010 11:38 am

    I was watching some movie last night that involved Aliens v. Predators on Earth, and I was thinking of zombies.

    In fact, I was wondering: Alien, Predator, Zombie: Who wins?


  8. July 8, 2010 1:15 pm

    This could actually be a movie, right? People go out to explore space, crash into a planet, there’s zombies everywhere, can’t get off, I’m surprised they haven’t done zombies in space. Fascinating stuff about the comets, and it’s very interesting that they give it that name for the dust reflecting off.

  9. July 8, 2010 1:17 pm

    I wonder how this can be mashed up with Pride and Prejudice zombies?

  10. July 8, 2010 1:37 pm

    LOL.. Nice

  11. July 8, 2010 2:15 pm

    You better watch that big brain of yours, or zombies will eat it.

  12. onyerbicycle permalink
    July 8, 2010 2:18 pm

    Read about this in a very good book: Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. If there really is ‘dust’ then there must be parellel universes too?

  13. 2 Guys, 1 Blog permalink
    July 8, 2010 2:31 pm

    Haha. This is pretty interesting. I’m a fan of any kind of weird science news. For weird music news, check out my blog: Read how to play the vuvuzela for a good laugh.

  14. July 8, 2010 2:43 pm

    I think I saw this on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

    Nice post!

  15. July 8, 2010 3:16 pm

    How was this not a b-movie?

  16. July 8, 2010 3:20 pm

    Awesome stuff, big fan of New Scientist. Always interesting to see what’s going on in the universe.

  17. July 8, 2010 4:13 pm

    Fascinating–thanks for posting this. Also, one of the all time great bait and switch post titles!

  18. rwjones permalink
    July 8, 2010 5:12 pm

    Sounds like the title to a Flaming Lips or Pink Floyd album

  19. July 8, 2010 5:26 pm

    i thought thi was going to be another space-nazi B-movie… but this was more interesting!

  20. greenworldpeace14 permalink
    July 8, 2010 5:43 pm

    That’s really funny and yes, it would make a not-so-good horror film. Congrats on making Frshly Pressed!

    • July 9, 2010 9:42 am

      Thank you! I’m still shocked and amazed!

  21. July 8, 2010 8:10 pm

    This post is interesting and funny. I think that it would make a good horror film. I wonder why no one thought of zombies in space before?

  22. July 8, 2010 11:27 pm

    Dnt knw frm where these news and concepts….nowadays scientists work for new channel for giving dem some spicy sories…first cosmic rays den 2012 world end and now this dust….neways well composed and interesting post…!!!

  23. July 9, 2010 1:22 am

    Awesome! Must look beautiful, I would love to see it. Thanks for posting this, I got to learn something new too! 🙂

  24. July 9, 2010 1:23 am

    Nice one, being a researcher myself, it’s funny and refreshing to read research analysis like these.

  25. harrywombat permalink
    July 9, 2010 1:47 am

    I am honestly surprised there has not been a SyFy original movie on this subject yet.

    I guess they are too busy finding someone to write a script for Dinocroc 6: Tic Toc here comes the Croc.

  26. Acekeen permalink
    July 9, 2010 3:07 am

    Zombies – Melting face with sleeping walk!! Good entertainment for the Horror lovers!! Nice thinking!! Zombies in space!!

  27. July 9, 2010 7:17 am

    Well, they already did Jason Voorhees in space and Pinhead in Space. Maybe George Romero is interested in doing Zombies in Space.

  28. July 9, 2010 8:04 am

    Does Jason X count? I mean, he’s died plenty of times, so he’s at least distantly related to zombies. Though how they’ll beat the “in space, no one can hear you scream” byline is beyond me.

  29. July 9, 2010 8:46 am

    Zombie in space….definitely watchable!

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  30. Songbird permalink
    July 10, 2010 3:44 am

    That sounds like a great premise to a movie.

  31. The Weddington Adventures permalink
    July 10, 2010 11:23 am

    interesting! great stuff. keep in touch:)

  32. July 11, 2010 11:51 pm

    crazy space zombies FTW \m/

  33. July 18, 2010 3:54 pm

    Sing it with me: “All we want to do is eat your brains.”

    • scandalousmuffin permalink
      July 18, 2010 6:27 pm

      We’re not unreasonable. I mean, no one’s gonna eat your eyes.


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