In 2037, the people of the Earth knew that the end was near. At least they had a short warning to prepare for the inevitable. A massive, unknown comet was detected at the edge of the solar system on a deadly, unwavering path. In less than three years, it would collide with our moon and completely destroy it.
As it made its way toward our symbiotic orbiting partner, scientists admitted that they had no means of stopping it. No man-made object could be constructed to force it to deviate from its trajectory. Even the most powerful missiles or bombs would only splinter away insignificant sized, uncontrolled pieces of shrapnel. Any one of which would rain down on the Earth and do as much damage as the complete astral body would do; once it impacted with the moon. Neither contingency was survivable. For once, all of the experts agreed. The planet would soon cease-to-be.
The Earth had always resided at the very nexus of carbon based life. If our planet was any closer to the sun, it would have made biological life impossible. Any further away meant the exact same thing; lifelessness. Once the moon was pulverized, the Earth would become unbalanced and wobble off its invisible gravitational track; falling into an unsurvivable orbit. Earthquakes, tidal waves, and volcanos would blot out most living things immediately. That is, if the drastic shift in global temperature didn’t beat the cataclysms to it. All life would perish shortly thereafter in the void of space.
With seven months left before impact, a large-scale, evacuation plan was set into motion by scientists and world leaders. The overwhelming majority of people on Earth were going to die. There was no means of saving eight billion people. Every man, woman and child knew the reality. The best and brightest young minds from every culture were selected for ‘the forlorn hope’. Their mission was to go forth and establish a permanent settlement on a surrogate world. That host world was decided to be Jupiter. Or more specifically, it was one of its main moons; called ‘Europa’.
With a thin atmosphere of Oxygen and evidence of liquid water beneath the surface; it was earmarked by experts as the best hope for life to continue on. Massive tidal flexing and gravitational pull from Jupiter was theorized to cause the saline ocean to remain liquified; beneath the frozen crust. This in turn, caused a slightly warmer surface temperature than any of Jupiter’s other five large moons. That is not to say that Europa was ‘Idyllic’ or ‘hospitable’ by any stretch of the imagination. It was just slightly less deadly than other potential destinations that we could reach.
The journey to the middle of the solar system would take more than a dozen years. Humanity’s long term survival outlook was admittedly bleak but we were it’s last hope. Room on the massive craft was scarce and limited to essential items. It was also necessary for all living things to enter a deep hibernation-like stasis. All living quarters were flooded with a specialized gas to slow down our metabolisms to near death. Being in suspended animation also prevented the consumption and exhaustion of valuable resources. Those were needed for the settlement.
The vessel was aptly named: ‘The Dandelion’. Much like the tenacious weed, we were floating on thermal winds to spread our seeds in a distant world. The onboard computer was the most advanced technology that had ever been created. It was in full control during the tedious traveling phase.
About two months into our forced pilgrimage, the computer alone bore witness to the complete annihilation of Mother Earth. Transmitters and orbiting satellites communicating with ‘The Dandelion’ documented the final moments of the moon and then, the birthplace of all known life; Terra. After that, there was only the cold, dead silence of space. We were the last remaining vestiges of life in the known universe. Alone.
Once we reached our new home, the plan was to send automated tunneling machines into the ice to drill ourselves a path to the liquified sea, underneath. ‘The Dandelion’ was either going to serve as our undersea living quarters; or it would become our failed tomb.
Eventually we were able to establish a living colony in the frigid, alien world. We set up an algae farm and converted the surrounding seawater into breathable oxygen and drinking water. The artificial heat and UV lights in our greenhouse provided necessary photosynthesis elements to sustain our working garden. Our surviving livestock fed on the greenery that we produced; and so our undersea farm was a working food chain. The animal waste materials were recycled into fertilizer for future crops. Life begins and ends at the microbial level.
Once settled, we also used the digging machines to bore tunnels into the ocean floor. After pumping out the seawater, we established farming caverns and living quarters. Our extensive seed library was put to better use growing vegetables in the fertilized Europaen soil. It allowed for the possibility of longer-term survival for the colony, as a whole. Over time we adapted our nuclear reactors to produce artificial lighting and heat in the caverns. It has been a monumental struggle to tame the savage elements but we have overcome these tremendous odds. I marvel at how many of our little ones have no experience with any other way of life. Other that in video or photos, they will sadly never known the rich blue planet of their origin.
As the chosen leader of this colony, I was tasked with tremendous burden and responsibility of keeping humanity alive for the past forty-five years. It hasn’t been easy and we have lost some important battles. Through it all however, the human race continues to fight back and thrive. We rise up against the deadly challenges that would seek to defeat us. We utilize our extensive database of the world’s collective knowledge, to educate ourselves and our children. As the fortunate, chosen few; we govern ourselves with a sense of heightened fairness and peaceful resolve. It is my hope that future generations will continue to do so. We are a society of survivors; and Europa is our home.