On July 24th,, 2024 the spacecraft Armstrong completed its more than billion mile, eight year journey to Jupiter’s moon, Europa, after looping around our Terran Moon and the planet Venus, thence threading its way through the asteroid belt beyond Mars. Once the robot made contact with Europa’s icy surface, the ship’s radio-thermal power generator (RTG) began to heat its exterior to 27º C. Armstrong then melted it’s way to the briny, dark sea ten kilometers below. The descent into the enshrouded ocean took just less than two years.
Once there, Armstrong opened his eyes and tasted the enveloping waters and all that it contained. His ears activated, and he could hear to shrieks and whooping of the beasts that inhabit this new vista. Just over an hour later, by radio, scientists on Earth saw, tasted, and heard what Armstrong perceived.
On the floor of this ice-buried ocean little beasties that looked like earthly tube-worms by submerged volcanic vents wagged in the gloomy currents. They expelled soft flakes that smelled of sulfur. About them swam translucent, bioluminescent creatures that looked rather like our flounder. They flickered as though signaling each other with their light. Indeed, our cryptographers believe that what they have seen was akin to Morse Code or Semaphore. These critters were intelligent, or at least communicative with each other.
However intelligent, they were not immune to the predation of what our biologists term Wasps, that being their behavior. Their appearance, though, was more like a giant eel, but with a prehensile, many fingered tale and a gaping maw that contained teeth of a sort. Those teeth were, as well, agile. Apparently having no jaw, they masticated their pray by slowly grinding, massaging the gooey flesh with the action of their terrible incisors, then somehow absorbing the meal through their skin.
After 3.46 terran hours in service beneath Europa’s ocean, Armstrong had completed its mission, it’s communication systems failed. The cause of failure in not certain, but it is theorized that the Wasps actually have their stomachs on the outside of their body, and potent gastric juices fatally corroded both the high-gain and back-up antennas.
Yours in Scientific Enthusiasm,