Ship of Dreams
It all began on a clear night in 1610 AD. Galileo Galilei caught glimpses of four bodies that would later bear his name — the Galilean Moons. Because Jupiter’s largest satellites were so bright, Galileo called them, “stars.”
Over the centuries, Europa, the most luminous of all the Galilean moons, has provided an abundance of mysteries. These culminated in what may have been a literal explosion in December 2012, when a cloud of water vapor was seen 20 miles over its south pole. This eruption was tiny on the cosmic scale, but enormous in its importance to astrobiology.