Over the past 36 years man has been trying to explore the Jupiter moon Europa. Every mission to date has ended in failure. Now in 2056 with a faster space craft, the Global Space Organization is trying one more mission. This is a fully manned mission that will attempt to put humans on the surface to search for liquid water and possibly life. Will this mission finally be the one to succeed or will it end in failure as well... or worse?
Why go to Europa?
In the deepest parts of the Earth’s oceans, miles below sea level where sun light has no hope of ever reaching, there is life! How can life exist without the energy of the Sun? Hydrothermal Vents! Cracks in the Earth’s crust near tectonic plates suck in ocean water that in turn super heats the water, jettisoning it back out into the near freezing ocean water. The superheated water may form features such as black smokers that are formed from minerals dissolved in the vent fluid. The areas around hydrothermal vents are biologically very productive and often host complex communities of life, fueled by the chemicals dissolved in the vent fluids. Bacteria form the base of the food chain supporting diverse organisms such as giant tube worms, shrimp, clams, and limpets.
What does this have to do with Europa? Active hydrothermal vents are believed to exist in vast oceans under the frozen surface. The constant gravitational force exerted on Europa from Jupiter is believed to create heat energy from the tidal flexing. Scientists believe that Europa is volcanically active and thus have the same ingredients for sub ocean life: volcanic heat and water.
What’s this “Curse” all about?
The Curse of Europa is mainly a running joke based on the string of failures that the GSO (and previously NASA) has experienced trying to explore it. No other space exploration missions have accumulated more failures than the Europa missions. So is there a curse, or isn’t there? The crew on this new mission surly hopes it is nothing but a string of bad luck… a string of bad luck they hope to break; because five of them are actually going down there!