Whenever possible, I prefer to abide by current scientific knowledge in my stories. Since I have a degree in molecular biophysics, I claim to have a basic knowledge of physics and biology. In some of my stories, however, I may violate current theory in allowing faster than light travel, or extrapolate to teleportals.
My latest series, Taxyon Space, begins on Jupiter’s moon, Europa. Europa is the fourth largest moon of Jupiter, and the second innermost of the Galilean moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. Europa is about 400,000 miles from Jupiter. It orbits Jupiter in about 3.55 days with the same side always facing the gas planet like our moon.
Europa has a diameter of 1,900 miles, or a little smaller than Earth’s moon.
Its surface gravity of 0.134g is a little lower than that of our moon (0.16g) and less than on Mars (0.376g).
Much of our data for Europa came from NASA missions, such as Galileo (https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/missions/galileo/in-depth/ ).
Living on Europa
The moon is predicted to have a surface layer of ice over an ocean of water and iron-nickel core. The ice crust may be 10 or more miles thick, and the ocean may be >50 miles deep. The surface ice is probably thinner in places. It has reddish cracks in the ice, probably due to ocean tides caused by Jupiter. NASA has also recorded huge plumes of water vapor bursting out of the ice. The thin atmosphere of oxygen is not sufficient to breathe.
The surface of Europa is inhospitable for life with extremely cold temperatures of around 250-350 Fahrenheit combined with intense and deadly radiation from Jupiter.
Instead of living on the surface of the moon, the scientists in my story reside in Galileo Station, located beneath the ice crust for protection against radiation and extreme cold.
My fictional Galileo Station on Europa consists of an Upper Station, nicknamed Topside, and a Lower Station, called Bathos. Topside lies within a water pocket or channel in the ice crust. It has a hatch on the surface that opens to allow a shuttle to land on a platform. Shuttles are used for research flights around Jupiter and to transport supplies from the ferry, a spaceship traveling from Earth to the inhabited planets or moons. Bathos was constructed on a plateau on the bottom of the ocean and houses manufacturing facilities, energy and food production. Temperatures near the seabed are likely to be comfortable for humans and may be fiery hot near volcanic vents. The two levels of Galileo Station are connected by cables for power and data transmission, an elevator called the Bullet, and vanes for energy generation from the tidal currents.
At the time of my story, less than 20 people, mostly scientists, live on Galileo Station. My heroine, a marine biologist, intends to study the life in the oceans of Europa.
The oceans of Europa have long been considered a likely location for extraterrestrial life. NASA’s Space tourism poster illustrates potential lifeforms. My story has intelligent jelsquid, animals that can morph between a disk-like jellyfish shape to a squid-like form with nine arms.
My inspiration for the ocean life is drawn from Earth. The Europan oceans will be dark with little light penetrating through the ice crust. My heroine uses infrared goggles when she swims in the ocean to study the marine animals. We can consider similar habitats on Earth. A variety of unique animals and bacteria live in deep sea hydrothermal vents, and may feed on hydrogen sulfide emissions from the vent (http://ocean.si.edu/ocean-videos/hydrothermal-vent-creatures). Vibrant communities of animals also life under the ice caps of Earth (http://content.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1647012_1416760,00.html). Even in the deep dark ocean, many animals have vivid colors and may be luminescent.
I have incorporated ideas from these real ecosystems in my vision of the Europan oceans.
SciFi adventure & alien romance. What alien creatures lurk under the icy surface of Europa?
Two alien worlds. Two lovers torn apart. Can they weave the hyperthreads into unity?