Europa (Solsys)
Europan surface
Image from Lilly Harper
Volatile extraction complex on the surface of Europa during the Interplanetary Age


Primary, PositionJupiter, vi (all)/ii (Galilean only)
Primary, Distance from670,900 km
Gravity3,138 km / 0.135 G
year3.551 days / 3.551 days (tidally locked)
Surface compositionWater Ice
DiscoveryJan 7, 1610 by Galileo Galilei
Terragen LandingFirst manned landing 112 AT.
Colonization StatusClosed (Europan Nation sovereign planet)
Europan 4 million
Other sophonts 17 million
AdministrationSolar Organisation member world
GovernmentEuropan Nation (autonomous polity affiliated with the Solar Organisation)
Industries: Volatile extraction, Biocrafts, traditional biotech, finance, tourism, extreme sports, simmimersion, waldoing, totalrecall

Sapients: About 6 million Europans (Europanthropus aquaticus) under the surface. On the surface about 500,000 sentients, mostly vecs, ais, and expert agents, along with a few heavily modified Europans (Europanthropus semiterrestralis) and a small number of superiors. In the orbitals about 20 million vecs, ais, expert agents, three species of Europans (Europanthropus aquaticus, E. semiterrestralis, and E. spatialis) several species of provolves (including a small number of Loligo sapiens who seem have an affection for their place of origin, they are accompanied by their Bitenic AI companions), and various clades of superiors and cyborgs.

Planetology: Holotype for EuEuropan Type of world. Europa, the third largest of the four Galilean moons, is slightly smaller than Luna. Its surface is a very smooth ice-sheet, as thick as 100km in places, marked by long, crisscrossing, bright or dark linea and low, scalloped ridges, and frozen sulphuric acid. Under this is the famous Europan ocean. On the nearside Jupiter dominates the sky.

History and Comments: Long believed to be a habitable home for life, Europa excited great interest during the Information and early Interplanetary Age. The predicted inner ocean was found to exist under the massive ice sheets, but turned out to be quite lifeless. A famous hoax perpetrated in 352 by White Fraction geneticists actually caused a media sensation until the real origin of the Europan organisms was uncovered.

Image from Steve Bowers
Europa and Jupiter
When it reached the top of the slope, the buggy emerged from the kilometer wide canyon that seemed to extend endlessly into the shadows behind the vehicle, between ice cliffs hundreds of meters high. Four tall wheels supported a large cabin, divided between the rear compartment — full of lockers — and the cockpit which was topped by an armored windshield shaped as a bubble. It was in rather good condition. Odys had hung his Centillion-Provolves Buddha amulet from one of the curved metal frames that supported the spheroidal window of the cockpit. All the main systems were operational, as the glitches resulting from damage made by previous malware attacks affected only sub-systems Odys had no need for.

The full extent of the sky finally came into view over him, through the transparent ceiling of the bubble. Jupiter covered over five hundred times as much of Europa's sky as Luna does Earth's. A tiny sun was emerging from behind the dark and massive figure of the gas giant, its atmosphere producing a glowing arc of red twilight all around it. As far as the eye could see, the entire icy landscape, with its buttes, clefts, cirques and craters was illuminated in a faint red-orange hue. The uncanny glimmer made the moon look like it was ablaze by virtue of an eerie frozen fire.

-Snapshot From 'Ocean Untamed', 627 AT

In the late 5th century Jovian Genetics & Adaptation began the process of tweaking organisms, including humanoids, to live in the Europan seas. Shortly after, the technoplague destroyed the terran habitats on the surface, but the geneered life survived and flourished in isolation, until being discovered some centuries later by the new Federation. The history of Europa then became the history of the relationship between the Europans (or Europeans) and the Federation "BeyondWorlders" as they were called by the Europan tweaks.

Eventually a multicultural interface developed on the surface, chiefly sociologists, biologists, and traders. Europa was accepted into the Federation as a member world with full planetary ownership. Nowdate the Europan oceans (which were never able to support a high population) are populated by only a small number of Europans; most of the population is on the surface, with a number of clades given freehold. However, the intense radiation of Jupiter requires massive shielding, and even the surface has never been populous.

For more details about Europa in the Current Era, see here.
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    Major sub-type of Europan Type planet. Distinguished by a rocky core with an ice mantle. A subsurface ocean 10 to 100 kilometers in depth is almost always present, due to tidal stretching of the world. Surface movement is constant, and obliterates all impact scars in a short amount of geologic time. Life may be present, but is likely to be primitive, if it is even beyond the microbial stage. Atmospheres are transient.
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev
Initially published on 24 October 2001.