Life on Europa
I’ve been a fan of sea monsters for a long time now. I’m utterly terrified of being out alone in deep water and I think that phobia has left me with a deep interest in the super beasts of the deep. It’s a place where we are out of our element, gone from a technological powerhouse to a helpless floating lump of protein.
I wonder what the life on Europa is like? If it really does contain a sea beneath that thick surface of ice, I just can’t see it not harboring some kind of life. But how deep will that rabbit hole go? Will it be mere bacteria (like I suspect we’ll find under the surface of Mars) or will we see complex life, hard shelled creatures, soft shelled, cephalopod like beasts, will these creatures be as large as the mythical kraken or will the all be no bigger than Shrimp?
If we could manage through that 3-4 kilometers of ice to the water beneath would we be filled with wonder at what we see? Or would a Cthulu like monstrosity fill our hearts with horror and fear? I’d be happy with any outcome, even the most unlikely. I sometimes wish that our own moon was Europa, a smooth sphere of ice and water rotating around our Earth. A symbol of the fluid that has sustained each and every one of us, protecting us from bombardments from space.
We would have journeyed to the moon as we have done and would have looked down with wonder at its thick crust, wondering just what marvelous things lie beneath. Further missions would have delved and the mechanisms for excavation would have put into place. We might have found that our closest living neighbors were a hop skip and a 360,000 KM jump away. Seeing flickering images of the weirdest jellyfish like creature fluttering past our flickering video feed.
The quivering voice of the astronaut as they narrated what they were witnessing. Our world, our beliefs, the things that so many define themselves by would be changed and it would be completely and utterly beautiful. To have our preconceptions about the universe brought front and center and shoved to the ground. Everyone needs that moment where life reminds them that reality doesn’t exist at their beck and whim.
As much as I enjoy our own moon I do feel it is quite a tragedy that Europa is so far away. While robots will most certainly visit in my lifetime I don’t see it becoming a venture for people in any feasible amount of time. But once it does happen, once we see the undulated creations of a water world, We might finally be able to take the steps necessary to better ourselves.
Break that hubristic egocentrism and start making ourselves something to admire.