AMC's "The Walking Dead" launched its 10th season last week to the delight of zombie fans everywhere, but the premiere also contained a space junk Easter egg that just might be a major plot point for the series: a Soviet satellite crashing to Earth.
The episode "Lines We Cross" ends with an old Soviet satellite crashing to Earth as a brilliant daytime fireball. It loses unmistakable sonic booms and a sparks wildfire in enemy territory (watch out for Whisperers!) that the show's heroes must battle to save their hunting grounds.
"We'd been talking the the writers' room about what are different things that happen the more time goes on," executive producer Angela Kang said in AMC's "Talking Dead" recap of the Oct. 6 premiere. "We thought that it would just be like an interesting thing that we haven't dealt with before, and then see what things they can get from the satellite in terms of technology or to help them."
Related: The Biggest Spacecraft to Fall Uncontrolled from SpaceMore: Failed 1970s Venus Probe Could Crash to Earth This Year
A Soviet satellite falls to Earth in a brilliant fireball in AMC's "The Walking Dead" Season 10 premiere "Lines We Cross,"
(Image credit: AMC)
According to Kang, "The Walking Dead" showrunners sought advice on satellites from a NASA scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
That got us wondering how accurate the satellite crash depiction was, so we reached out to astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell at the HarvardSmithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass. who tracks satellites and space junk in Earth orbit.
Our first question: How accurate is the fireball, sonic boom and crash, which leaves much of the satellite intact?
"The visual of the reentry ... is good, although it looks too high at that point to have audible sonic booms, I would guess. Overall, not bad as a depiction," McDowell told Space.com in an email. "The almost-intact satellite found on the ground ... is not plausible."
The appearance of "The Walking Dead" satellite resembles a type of old Soviet surveillance satellite known as a Tselina-R, which was used for electronic intelligence, McDowell said.That might just be a coincidence, though.
According to Russian spaceflight expert Anatoly Zak, who runs Russianspaceweb.com, Tselina-R launched in 1990 (before the end of the Soviet Union) and was designed to last about six months. But Tselina-class satellites were launched throughout the late 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s, with the last to fly in the early 2000s.
Next question: Is 10 years in "The Walking Dead" (that's my estimate based on the show's seasons) enough time for satellites to fall from space?
"The 10 years is enough if the satellite were in a relatively low orbit of say 500 km," McDowell said. "It'd be unlikely to have a jet-engine-size bit surviving unless it was actually designed for reentry (like a camera/film capsule)."
Some Soviet satellites like that depicted in "The Walking Dead" have had small engine parts, like a meter-sized plate or quarter-meter spherical pressure tank, survive, but nothing the size of what appears in the show, McDowell added.
"Maybe you'd get a piece that big from a space station module."
Related: Skylab's Remains: NASA Space Station Debris in Australia (Photos)
The remains of a Soviet satellite in AMC's The Walking Dead. Such a large piece of space junk from a satellite would be unlikely in reality, unless it was designed to survive reentry.
(Image credit: AMC)
Here's a follow-up: The folks in "The Walking Dead" rush to the Soviet satellite to put out a wildfire, then rush to salvage any technology they can. Wouldn't there be toxic hydrazine or other chemicals to worry about? And would anything be salvageable at all?
"It's unlikely there'd be anything usable surviving I don't think anything from Skylab survived in repairable condition for example," McDowell said. "Again, if [it were] part of a system designed for reentry, that's a different story, so you could imagine a cargo ship ([SpaceX's] Dragon, for example) that boosted its recovery module in the wrong direction and was stranded in orbit for reentry 10 years later but it wouldn't look like that."
And McDowell suggests there might be more to worry about than just toxic hydrazine, a fuel used for spacecraft thrusters.
"Theconcern with hydrazine is valid but maybe brief it would probably dissipate pretty quickly. I would certainly be hesitant about approachingthething when not wearing a protective hazmat suit," McDowell said. "There might be potentially explosive hypergolic propellant on board too. And on an old Soviet sat there might be high-explosive self destruct devices."
Okay, last question: Do you watch "The Walking Dead"?
"I'm not a big zombie fan, 'Walking Dead' is too gross for me," said McDowell, though he did enjoy the TV series "iZombie."
McDowell also enjoy another show about the dead walking the Earth, HBO's "Dead Like Me," which began with Russia's Mir space station falling to Earth and its toilet seat killing the show's lead character.
"I was a fan of 'Dead Like Me,' indeed," McDowell said, "and appreciated the (again, implausible) Mir toilet seat."
Episode 2 of "The Walking Dead" Season 10 airs tonight on AMC at 9 p.m. EDT/8 p.m. CDT.
Email Tariq Malik email@example.com follow him@tariqjmalik. Follow us@SpacedotcomandFacebook.
Need more space? You can get 5 issues of our partner "All About Space" Magazine for $5 for the latest amazing news from the final frontier!
(Image credit: All About Space magazine)
See original here:
- H0LiCOW! Cosmic Magnifying Glasses Yield Independent Measure of Universe's Expansion That Adds to Troubling Discrepancy - SciTechDaily - January 19th, 2020
- More Mysterious Space Blobs Have Been Found Near the Center of the Milky Way - Universe Today - January 19th, 2020
- NASA Intern Discovered New Planet With Two Suns on Third Day of Placement - Newsweek - January 19th, 2020
- Space is the place for impossible molecules - The Week Magazine - January 19th, 2020
- Astronomers Detect Radiation Stimulated By Heatwave Of Intense Thermal Energy From A Massive New-born Star - Space in Africa - January 19th, 2020
- Massive Black Hole Collisions Illuminated by X-Rays and Gravitational Waves - SciTechDaily - January 19th, 2020
- Taking the Temperature of Dark Matter - UC Davis - January 19th, 2020
- Tour the colorful Crab Nebula with this stunning new 3D visualization - Space.com - January 19th, 2020
- The Week of January 13, 2020 - FYI: Science Policy News - January 19th, 2020
- A Mysterious Burst of Gravitational Waves Came From a Region Near Betelgeuse. But There's Probably No Connection - Universe Today - January 19th, 2020
- Scientific Discovery About the Source of a Key Element of Life Shows Why Sun Worship Is the Most Rational Religion - TheStranger.com - January 19th, 2020
- Weekly Round-Up Of Space And Astronomy Opportunities For Africans - Space in Africa - January 19th, 2020
- What's the temperature of dark matter? - Futurity: Research News - January 19th, 2020
- Researchers Have Identified 100 Mysteriously Disappeared Stars in The Night Sky - ScienceAlert - December 26th, 2019
- Mysteriously Disappearing Stars Lead to Theories of New Astrophysics and Alien Technologies - Interesting Engineering - December 26th, 2019
- This drone will fly on one of Saturns moons. Heres the woman leading the mission - PBS NewsHour - December 26th, 2019
- Planetary Confusion Why Astronomers Keep Changing What It Means to Be A Planet - Space.com - December 26th, 2019
- Year in Review: Milestones for Women in Space Through 2019 - News18 - December 26th, 2019
- The billion-year belch - MIT News - December 26th, 2019
- Astronomers discover a new exoplanet 66.5 light-years away, making it one of the nearest known to date - MEAWW - December 26th, 2019
- Black Holes Were Already Feasting Just 1.5 Billion Years After the Big Bang - Universe Today - December 21st, 2019
- Astronomers Discovered a New Kind of Explosion That the Sun Can Do - Universe Today - December 21st, 2019
- Giant Black Hole at the Center of Our Galaxy May Have a Friend - Livescience.com - December 21st, 2019
- Astronomers Map the Surface of a Pulsar - Universe Today - December 21st, 2019
- Scientists Spot Ancient Star Burst in Milky Way's Heart in Stunning New Image - Space.com - December 21st, 2019
- A Life Unfinished: Stephen Hawkings Estate Just Revealed The Genius Astrophysicist Died With Only 91% Completion For The Witcher 3 - The Onion - December 21st, 2019
- Black Holes' Breakfast at the Cosmic Dawn Revealed by VLT [Video] - SciTechDaily - December 21st, 2019
- A spotters guide to the Milky Ways most badly behaved stars - New Scientist - December 21st, 2019
- Astrophysicists Create the First-Ever Surface Map of a Pulsar Using Data from NASAs NICER Telescope on the ISS - Outer Places - December 21st, 2019
- Is the decade really over at the end of 2019? - WPIX 11 New York - December 21st, 2019
- 2019 brought us the first image of a black hole. A movie may be next - Science News - December 21st, 2019
- Frontier and centre | ANU Science, Health & Medicine - Science at ANU - December 21st, 2019
- Space news highlights of 2019 | Swinburne news - Swinburne University of Technology - December 21st, 2019
- Aliens: Mysterious blinking lights in the sky may be a sign of other life - EconoTimes - December 21st, 2019
- University of Geneva: Master the complexities of physics - Study International News - December 18th, 2019
- Supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy may have a friend - The Conversation US - December 18th, 2019
- NICER delivers best-ever pulsar measurements and first surface map - Space Daily - December 18th, 2019
- Mysterious blinking lights in the night sky could be ALIENS, new study claims - The Sun - December 18th, 2019
- First Map of a Pulsar's Surface Reveals 'Hotspots' in Unexpected Places - Space.com - December 18th, 2019
- 'The size, the grandeur, the peacefulness of being in the dark': what it's like to study space at Siding Spring Observatory - The Conversation AU - December 18th, 2019
- The science of Star Wars - and how it has changed movies forever - News - The University of Sydney - December 18th, 2019
- The 4 women on Nature's 'People who mattered in Science in 2019' list - Women's Agenda - December 18th, 2019
- Planetary Mass Objects Discovered in Other Galaxies - Universe Today - December 18th, 2019
- NASA Astrophysics | Science Mission Directorate - December 13th, 2019
- NASA Just Watched a Mass of Cyclones on Jupiter Evolve Into a Mesmerising Hexagon - ScienceAlert - December 13th, 2019
- NASA's Mission to 'Touch the Sun' Begins to Unravel Mysteries of Solar Wind - WTTW News - December 13th, 2019
- Why i recently learn Astrophysics at Tufts and When you Too - ADOTAS - December 13th, 2019
- 100 mysterious blinking lights in the night sky could be evidence of alien life... or something weird, say boffins - The Register - December 13th, 2019
- Supersize me: Physicists awarded $3.3M for XL-Calibur telescope | The Source - Washington University in St. Louis Newsroom - December 13th, 2019
- What Are The Physics Stories That Define The 2000s And 2010s? - Forbes - December 13th, 2019
- International Collaboration, Cross-Disciplinary Workforce Development and Education Needed for US to Maintain Leadership in Atomic, Molecular, and... - December 13th, 2019
- Red lights in the Milky Way could be evidence of alien civilisations - Metro.co.uk - December 13th, 2019
- Mystery of the Origins of Cosmic Rays Solved - UC San Diego Health - December 13th, 2019
- Sundar Pichai Applauds Astrophysicist who Once Scored a Zero in her Physics Exam - News18 - November 25th, 2019
- Hubble Studies Gamma-Ray Burst with the Highest Energy Ever Seen - Hubble Space Telescope at ESA - November 25th, 2019
- How Einstein came to influence smartphones - The Hindu - November 25th, 2019
- Contrary to recent reports, Jupiter's Great Red Spot is not in danger of disappearing - Westport News - November 25th, 2019
- Astronomers Find a Galaxy Containing Three Supermassive Black Holes at the Center - Universe Today - November 25th, 2019
- Three Supermassive Black Holes Discovered at the Core of One Galaxy - SciTechDaily - November 25th, 2019
- Of the Two Stars in Alpha Centauri, One is Probably More Habitable than the Other - Universe Today - November 25th, 2019
- Jobs Boost at Innovative Gwent Insurtech Firm - Business News Wales - November 25th, 2019
- UK researchers awarded 30m investment in global neutrino physics project - University of Birmingham - November 25th, 2019
- West African International Summer School for Young Astronomers Completes Another Successful School - Space in Africa - November 25th, 2019
- A galactic train wreck with three supermassive black holes - Astronomy Now Online - November 25th, 2019
- This huge radio telescope is out to solve an epic astrophysics mystery - Wired.co.uk - November 13th, 2019
- Astrophysics, Genetic Engineering, and ASMR: Architecture Like You've Never Heard It Before | Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)... - November 13th, 2019
- These are just some of the incredible women to watch in science - Women's Agenda - November 13th, 2019
- The Milky Ways black hole kicked a star out of our galaxy - WPMT FOX 43 - November 13th, 2019
- Physicists revive hunt for dark matter in the heart of the Milky Way - Science Magazine - November 13th, 2019
- The Universe May Be Roundand That Would Be Bad News for Physicists - Gizmodo - November 13th, 2019
- NASA Venus Mission Surprise: There Could Be Life Existing On Earths Twin - International Business Times - November 13th, 2019
- Why Astronomers Worry About the Brightness of SpaceX's Starlink Satellite Megaconstellation - Space.com - November 13th, 2019
- The most spectacular celestial vision youll never see - Astrobiology Magazine - November 13th, 2019
- Clemson scientists further refine how quickly the universe is expanding - Clemson Newsstand - November 13th, 2019
- A gifted physicist reduced to living in his car: what killed Hamid Alamdari? - The Guardian - November 13th, 2019
- The Universe Is Laced with Giant Structures Connecting Distant Galaxies - Asgardia Space News - November 13th, 2019
- Theres Growing Evidence That the Universe Is Connected by Giant Structures - VICE - November 13th, 2019
- Fermilab and University of Chicago scientist Josh Frieman awarded $1 million by DOE Office of Science - Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory - October 16th, 2019
- Humans Will Never Live on Another Planet, Nobel Laureate Says. Here's Why. - Livescience.com - October 16th, 2019
- Exotic 'Fuzzy' Dark Matter May Have Created Giant Filaments Across the Early Universe - Livescience.com - October 16th, 2019