Tongue Tied

Starbug approaches an astro-glacier - is it natural or man-made?

Starbug landed on the astro-glacier

An Astro-glacier", also referred to by Cat simply as "a big Space iceberg", was a natural phenomenon rarely encountered in Deep Space, although they could sometimes be man-made.

Kristine Kochanski studied astro-glaciers during her first year in the Space Corps, and she never thought she would see one up close. Three million years later, whilst on Starbug, Kris and her fellow crewmembers came across an astro-glacier and Kris was fascinated by it's "crystalline formations". Kris also noted that it was "allotropically modified, surrounded by an envelope of luminous gases."

Lister and Cat were not that impressed, but the Psi-Scan revealed the water in the ice to be clean, and Kryten suggested that they melt some of the ice to help with a looming drought aboard Starbug,

Buried within the ice the Dwarfers discovered another Jupiter Mining Corporation spaceship, Leviathan, which had been devastated by the Epideme virus and its engines overloaded in an attempt to flee something, but they later find out the Leviathan was actually racing towards Delta VII for a cure. ("Epideme", Series VII)

Behind the Scenes

The model of the "space iceberg", as originally intended {Series VII DVD special features)

  • The astro-glacier was originally intended to be a model, which was produced and looked more like an actual, jagged iceberg floating in space, as Doug Naylor had originally written it. However the right cameras for the model shots could not be afforded for the episode, and so the model shots that were filmed were considered of a poor quality and discarded. The astro-glacier was instead rendered last-minute in CG (identical to the ice planet seen in "Ouroboros"), and it was then made to look more like any icy planet or rounded planetoid, as it appeared in the televised episode. However, the "iceberg" model shots can still be seen on the "Raw FX" section of the Series VII DVD.


  • Given what they discover happened aboard Leviathan, the ice field may have been deliberately made to contain the Epideme virus.
  • Alternatively, given that Epideme was intelligent and could control it's hosts, perhaps Leviathan was deliberately flown into the iceberg by an Epideme-infected astro to enable the virus to freeze and hibernate before being found again by a new ship.