Amoeblog

Trans-Jovian Moons in Fact and Fiction

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 25, 2013 12:00pm | Post a Comment
INTRODUCTION

It's been a while since I've done one of these posts about extraterrestrial worlds in fact and (mostly) fiction. There've been (or will be) posts about Callisto, Ceres, Europa, Ganymede, Io, Mars, Pluto, Titan, VenusTrans-Neptunian dwarf planets, and Asteroids. The primary reason that there haven't been more is because the more obscure the solar object, the less likely it is to have been a setting for a Science-Fiction work (and thus the less relevance to Amoeba). A secondary reason is that these posts are far less popular than my Los Angeles neighborhood, LA County community, or Orange County community posts -- but aren't moons and planets sort of the neighborhoods of our Solar System? So here I am with a round-up of several moons, the Trans-Jovian ones that appear in computer or video games, movies, TV shows and old time radio.

Continue reading...

Io -- as seen on TV, DVD, VHS, games and telescopes

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 17, 2009 11:57am | Post a Comment

Io is the fourth largest moon in the solar system, about the same size as Earth's. But, whereas Earth's moon (like most) is a boring ball of dirt, Io is bat guano insane, with over 400 volcanoes spewing plumes of material from its molten core as high as 500 km into space, creating a thin atmosphere of sulphur which disperses, due to Io's low gravity.

   

The volcanoes were first noticed by a navigation engineer named Linda Morabito when she was analyzing images sent from Voyager 1. It is also covered with mountains (most tectonic and not volcanic), some higher than any on Earth. It's also highly radioactive. And as pockmarked and hard to look at as it is, it has no known impact craters. Io remains difficult to look at for dermatosiophobes like myself. If you also have this probelm, maybe it will help to compare it to a moldy fruit.

     

It was first discovered in 1610 by Galileo Bonaiuti de' Galilei, an astronomer curiously referred to, in most cases, by his first name (like Bjork, Sadam, Lawrence, Madonna and Prince) -- a fact which I find fascinating. It's not as if Galileo is an overly common family name. Though named "Io" by Simon Marius in 1614, the moon was usually referred to as Jupiter I until the mid-20th century. Marius claimed to have discovered Io, in fact, a week before Galilei.

 

The name "Io" comes from one of the priestesses of Hera. Her father was Inachus, a river god who inaguarated the worship of Hera in Argos. As a hot young priestess, Io caught Zeus' eye. Zeus came to her nightly and begged her to meet him in a meadow for a fling. She told her father about having weird dreams and he reluctantly sent her away. An implacable serial cheater, Zeus disguised himself as a cloud so that he could get it on with Io without Hera noticing. He turned her into a cow to avoid Hera's suspicion. It didn't work. Hera was no slouch, used to Zeus going to all kinds of magical lengths to cheat on her, and when she noticed the earth blanketed in a thick fog with Zeus no where to be found in Olympus, she figured it out so she asked for the cow as a gift.

Argos guarding Io

Hera then tied her to a tree and charged 100-eyed Argus Panoptes with guarding her. Zeus sent Hermes to lull Argus to sleep so that he might resume his affair with the girl. Instead, Hera set her free to graze and wander, driven and plauged by a vexatious gadfly. In her travels, she wandered out of Greece and her name was later applied to the Ionian Sea. After she crossed the Bosporous, she encountered Promotheus who -- despite having his liver pecked out repeatedly by an eagle -- comforted her with the knowledge that she'd become human again someday. When she got to Egypt, she gave birth to Zeus' son Epaphus, as well as a daughter, Keroessa. There she married the Egyptian king, Telegonus. Their grandson, Danaos, eventually returned to Greece with his fifty daughters (the world famous Danaids), as recalled in Aeschylus's play The Suppliants. Io's nickname was "the horned virgin."



As a pretty cool moon, Io has not surprisingly shown up in more than one work of television and film. The space western Outland was set there. In V, the baddies blew it up. On Red Dwarf, Judas Rimmer was raised there. It was home to an Earth Alliance colony in Babylon 5 with the Sol system's jumpgate orbiting it. There was a mining colony there in Escape from Jupiter. In that curious genre of dramatized, speculative sci-fi documentaries, the BBC made Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets. When an astronaut lands there to collect samples, he's overcome by exhaustion and, compounded by the risk of radiation exposure, the samples are abandoned.

  Transformers Season 3 

Io also shows up in a few cartoons. In the Transformers episode "Five Faces of Darkness," Blurr and Wheelie were stranded there following an attack by the Deceptacons. In Heroic Age, in an attempt to knock Io out of orbit, a massive space weapon destroys Jupiter in the process -- (one of my biggest phobias). In Exosquad, Io is where the Exofleet is based.


And you gamers can get your Io on in Ultima II, where the player must travel to Io to complete the game. Many game programers revolve around Io's sulfur mines. Pipeline, level 11 of Descent, and a level of  Disruptor are all set in those mines. Final Doom breaks the mold and includes a resarch base. Io is also featured in ZeroZone and Battlezone I.

Become a fan of Eric's Blog on Facebook!

Titan in Fact and Fiction

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 3, 2008 11:58pm | Post a Comment


TITAN


Titan was discovered in 1655 by Dutchman Christiaan Huygens. It orbits Saturn. Huygens named it Luna Saturni. When more moons were discovered, it was re-named Saturn II, then IV, then VI, which stuck as the official title, even though there are at least 19 moons in closer orbit of Saturn. It's also been referred to as "Saturn's ordinary satellite," but Titan is anything but ordinary.

 


Titan is the only body in the solar system, aside from Earth, with stable liquid bodies at its surface* and a dense atmosphere. Its landscape is relatively smooth, although there are mountains. As on Earth, the air is primarily composed of Nitrogen. Methane and Ethane clouds produce rain, wind and weather that give it seasons. It also has subsurface oceans*.

Embedded video from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology


 

The name Titan was chosen by John Herschel in 1847. The Titans, according to the Greek Religion and its adherents, were the former rulers of Greece during the Golden Age. The leader, Kronos, feared that his offspring would attempt to overthrow him, just as he had his father. To prevent this, he ate his children, except Zeus, who was saved and ultimately did overthrow the Titans and banish them to Tartarus.

Huygens's landing site on Titan

With such a mysterious, aesthetically Earth-like world hidden by a hazy atmosphere, Titan has attracted its fair share of speculation about its possible nature. Many films, television series and video games have been set there and are available at Amoeba for your own investigations...

 

Doctor Who - "The Invisible Enemy"



Transformers G1 - "The God Gambit"



Space Patrol (UK) - "The Glowing Eggs of Titan"


Creature (The Titan Find)



The Puppet Masters



Star Trek: The Next Generation
- "Chain of Command"



Gattaca



Starhunter


Star Trek
(2009)



Eureka
(season 3 and 4 opening)



Oblivion


TITAN IN VIDEO AND COMPUTER GAMES


  

   


TITAN IN SONG


  
*maybe

*****

Become a fan of Eric's Blog on Facebook!   

Ganymede

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 10, 2008 01:23pm | Post a Comment
Ganymede

Ganymede is the largest satellite in our solar system and probably more interesting than the planet Mercury. It orbits the largest planet in the system, Jupiter. Imagine taking a gander into the sky and seeing that red storm swirling above you like the eye of Sauron! Luckily for citizens of Ganymede, you can't get shrooms there, because that would pretty much guarantee a scary time.



Jupiter (left) and Ganymede (right) (case'n you didn't know)

200km below Ganymede's icy surface, a salty subsurface ocean exists*. It is the only moon in the solar system to possess a magnetosphere. Its atmosphere is primarily composed of oxygen in various states.

 
           
The handsomest man alive since the handsomest man expired               The handsomest moon

It was named after the Gods' cupbearer in the Greek religion. The position of divine cupbearer had previously been filled by the goddess of youth, Hebe, who was replaced following the abduction and installation of Ganymede at Zeus' insistence. 



Where it all went down- in what's now Turkey

Ganymede was a Trojan prince and the most handsome guy alive in his day. One day he was tending sheep whilst vacationing in Phyrgia. There he caught Zeus' pederastic eye and the god sent a giant eagle to abduct the guy and bring him to Olympus. In Olympia, he was well-liked except, perhaps not surprisingly, by Zeus' wife Hera. His greatest contribution to we mortals was inventing mead, the delicious alcoholic honey brew which made Grendel go cuckoo for cocoa puffs in distant
Götaland.

       
The abduction of Ganymede             Getting high off of his own supply         "If you want me to play tambourine, just ask"

Plato later theorized that the story of Ganymede was invented. He figured it was created by Cretans to explain their curiously widespread love for young lads among their Minoan elders.

Ganymede wasn't the only name considered when naming the Jovian moon. It beat out "The Jupiter of Jupiter" as well as the possibility of being named after one of the members of the Medici family in an historical instance of corporate sponsorship.


Members of the Medici family. Don't you just want to slap them?

For all of its mystery and wonder, few filmmakers have utilized Ganymede as a setting, whilst video games, television episodes and animes rather more often have. In fact, one of the only films having anything to do with Ganymede is Operation Ganymed, a made-for-tv movie from Germany which aired in the '70s.

   

In the animes Space Battleship Yamato (Uchū Senkan Yamato) and Geneshaft (jīn shafuto) some of the action takes place on Ganymede. In Cowboy Bebop (Kaubōi Bibappu), Ganymede is fully aquaformed and is the home of 7 million humans (who live in floating colonies) in addition to new lifeforms unique to the world.



Eht's Grrrrane!

On Babylon 5, there is an ice mining operation is situated there. In the Star Trek episode "By Any Other Name," Scotty gets faded on some green drank he's picked up on the moon. "Ganymede" is the first word uttered in the series Red Dwarf.


                                        One Must Fall 2097                                                                       Carnage Heart


                             Target Earth                                                                                 Shadowgrounds

In the PC game One Must Fall: 2097, combatants fight for the right to develop Ganymede. It's also featured in the PC Game FOM, the Sega Genesis game Target Earth the Playstation game Carnage Heart, and the PC game Shadowgrounds.

*maybe


Become a fan of Eric's Blog on Facebook!

Callisto - Jupiter IV in Entertainment

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 27, 2008 10:14pm | Post a Comment
CALLISTO



Callisto was discovered by the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei in 1610. It was named by Simon Marius after a nymph in Greek mythology who was associated with Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt. In the Grecian religion, Zeus took the form of Artemis to seduce Callisto because she didn't fancy the fellow. Then he raped her.



Its diameter is approximately 99% that of Mercury's. It orbits Jupiter. The surface is primarily dominated by impact craters which cover it almost to the point of saturation. However, underneath the surface of rocks and ice is a salty subsurface ocean 100km deep*.

  

Jupiter Moon, the "Jupiter Jazz" episode of Cowboy Bebop and the Sporilla from Terrahawks

Above the surface, a thin atmosphere of carbon dioxide coats the icy world. NASA's Revolutionary Concepts for Human Outer Planet Exploration has named the world as the favorite for a future Jupiter base.

    

A lot of people don't realize that Amoeba Hollywood sells video games, as well as 78s, audio cassettes, DVDs, VHS, CDs, Books, &c. The Playstation game G-Police offers yet another hypothesis about the nature of Callisto.

*maybe

Become a fan of Eric's Blog on Facebook!