We live in wonderful times, there’s never a dull moment. When technology isn’t changing our lives, raw science is busy making huge strides behind the scenes, creating the environment for tomorrow’s life changing developments in a never ending cycle.
Especially in space. When JFK made his famous we’re-going-to-the-moon speech, everybody got totally focused on that milestone. Now, although I’m sort of bummed that we don’t actually have colonies on the moon, our efforts in space have diversified, not waned. We’ve got the Voyager twins, now drifting endlessly through interstellar space, a letter in a bottle that will still be going on and on a thousand years from now. We’ve got a couple of little mini-tank robots rolling around on Mars and taking pictures faster than a Japanese tourist on coke. Mars! There’s also a plan to colonize Mars, with people selected from a reality show. You don’t hear about the international space station that much any more, but it’s still up there. Mankind has a permaent foothold in outer space. Dreams of the space elevator are alive and well and, as materials continue to be invented that are lighter or stronger, I suspect that it’s only a matter of time. Once that puppie’s up there, everything changes. Tourism will become common. Ships will do routing mining runs to the asteroid belt, used again at again, with little wear and tear and almost no fuel cost.
Now, there are hints and rumors that NASA may try to land a craft on Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, by 2030. This could turn out to be nothing, of course, but…. Europa has something Mars doesn’t, our own moon doesn’t, and Venus and Mercury sure as hell don’t: water.
I am excited by this mission for a few reasons. It seems to me that since water is the first building block of life on Earth, it’s likely that it harbors life wherever it is. So, we’ll be exploring a totally hidden, alien world with an undersea, underice environment. It will be awesome. Knowing that there is other life in our solar system will undoubtedly encourage us to continue to look for intelligent life further afield.
If it’s a big bust and there’s nothing below the ice, then it will be a world we could colonize. We win either wau/
It’s totally covered with ice, but scientists reckon there’s water underneath that. So, the plan is to drill through the ice, send a robo-submarine down there, and take lots of pictures.