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The Next Continent

3 May 2012, 20:13 UTC
The Next Continent
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Hard science fiction set in our solar system nearly died in the 1960s.The Tigers of Barsoom were slain by Mariner Probes to Mars. The Jungles of Venus were defoliated by probes to Venus. H. G. Wells’ Selenites were exterminated by Apollo.The Mariner Probes as well as Apollo told us the neighboring islands are barren places inhospitable to life.Science fiction moved from neighboring planets to neighboring stars. Stories told over time spans shorter than decades or centuries were forced to resort to faster than light travel. The Golden Age of hard science fiction passed away and so called science fiction became more about fantasy than science.In the meantime space exploration has moved on.We’ve learned water is abundant in our solar system. A multitude of icey bodies dwell in the Kuiper Belt in the outer system. The Sun-Jupiter L4 and L5 have healthy populations of small bodies thought to be icey. There’s evidence Main Belt asteroid Ceres has a liquid water ocean within. Four main belt asteroids have been seen outgassing, an indication of volatiles. A thin layer of volatile ices was detected on the surface of Main Belt asteroid 24 Themis. We have learned Europa, Enceladus and other icey moons of ...

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