Wednesday, 21 September 2016

All these worlds are yours except Europa.....

ArthurCClarke 2010OdysseyTwo.jpg

Arthur C Clarke is one of the greatest science fiction writers of all time who inspired the film 2001: A Space Odyssey and it's sequel 2010: Odyssey Two. The latter sees two spacecraft hurtling towards Jupiter where a second and much larger Monolith has been discovered in space.

We are not alone.

This story takes place as the Cold War "hots up" on Earth and threatens to become an all out conflict between East & West. Then something wonderful happens. Jupiter is transformed into a second Sun and a message is broadcast to humanity "

"All these worlds are yours except Europa, do not attempt to land there".

And as we see in the third book in the series 2061 any attempt to do so is destroyed. The reason? Life has developed out of Europa's oceans and is being protected.

All of this is course is fiction except one thing. We think there is an ocean on Europa kept fluid by a mixture of volcanic activity and Jupiters pull possibly rich in oxygen with the potential for life.

NASA has announced a Press Conference on Monday 26th September to make an announcement about "surprising activity on Europa". Don't expect to hear about aliens but the final proof of an ocean may have been discovered, maybe more:

Astronomers will present results from a unique Europa observing campaign that resulted in surprising evidence of activity that may be related to the presence of a subsurface ocean on Europa. Participants in the teleconference will be:
  • Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington
  • William Sparks, astronomer with the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore
  • Britney Schmidt, assistant professor at the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta
  • Jennifer Wiseman, senior Hubble project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland
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  1. Beyond 'our' solar system and beyond our galaxy we imagine there must be other planets with life on them. The Universe is so vast and has so many suns that somewhere must surely have even the 'basic' forms of life. Though if it advanced it may well think 'we' not worth the trouble getting in contact with!

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed the second novel, especially with its visionary treatment of Europa. The third was, though, a book too far, and it's self contained nature rather contradicted some of what had passed before.