Would Zombies Be Immortal In The Vacuum of Space?
The same way everything is a thousand times cooler if you stick the word "space" in front of it (space ship, space battle, space burrito ...), it also makes disasters so much more terrifying. A monster in space makes an Alien, while a monster on Earth just makes a sequel to A Dog's Purpose. But while confining most ghoulies to a claustrophobic spaceship is a recipe for utter terror and devastation, there's one you'd think wouldn't fare as well out there: zombies. With all the emergency steel doors and airlocks, closing a door and asking the AI to open the hangar bay and suck those bad boys out into the deadly cold grasp of space would do the trick, right? But would that be enough?
While it might rid you of the zombies on your ship, would it truly kill them? Or have you made them essentially immortal? In World War Z, zombies are known to occasionally meander out of the ocean after having spent time on the sea floor, so clearly, massive pressure differences and lack of air aren't a big deal for them. But you know what is killed by the vacuum of space? Bacteria, like the kind which causes zombies to continually decompose, making them less of a threat. By ejecting them out an airlock, you effectively sterilize them, keeping them shiny and new for all of eternity.
It gets worse! In Night Of The Living Dead, it's implied that the zombie plague is the result of cosmic radiation. So if you fire your crew mate into space for having a case of the brain munchies, all you'd be doing is removing the only blockade that stood between them and a healthy dose of extra radiation. Would it turn them into super zombies? Is the zombie apocalypse really the time you want to run that little science experiment?
Also, they can't bite you with their space helmet on anyway.
The only hope is that the zombie will eventually starve to death, but that's not looking good either. In every classic zombie movie, it's quite clear that all of the biting and brain eating is more of a lifestyle choice than a necessity. The zombie hordes are always thriving, even when there haven't been any fresh human brains for weeks. Being dead means having no metabolism, which means eating becomes entirely optional. Only feeding them bullets to the temple seems to change anything.
And don't start thinking those super zombies are someone else's problem the moment you fire them into the inky void. Zombies still obey the laws of physics (if not nature), so while they might float away from the spaceship a little bit, they're still traveling in the same direction as you, genius. During Apollo 13, even though the ship literally blew up, the astronauts could see debris from the explosion floating outside their window, moving alongside them. So now you'd be completely surrounded by zombies, which is the one thing all those fictional manuals tell us is the last thing you want, hoping they don't gnaw their way through a panel before you reach reentry.
So maybe dumping them in space is the wrong move. Maybe they can be used for good! Forget solar power, the ability to keep moving despite having no food would make zombies the most attractive renewable power source of all. Just put a bunch on a treadmill and bam, you have your zero-emission, renewable energy source.
Well, maybe not zero emissions. The smell would get pretty bad.
When he's not not sodomizing birds, Chris can be found on Twitter.
Outrun the sun is not the name of a Tom Petty album, but it should be!
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