One day, poor planet Earth will succumb to the centuries of abuse we’ve dealt her, shrivel up and cease to support life. Then, if we’re not already living in some Elysium-like habitat in space, we’ll have to find a new home. Jupiter’s moon, Ganymede, might just be it.
Ganymede with its underground ocean and rocky terrain is already being eyed by scientists as one of the solar system’s few habitable environments. Until now, though, we haven’t known exactly what was on that far away satellite which also happens to be the largest moon in our solar system. Thankfully, a team of Brown scientists and geologists fixed that problem by making this terrifically detailed map of Ganymede using images from NASA’s Voyager and Galileo missions. (Note: Be patient as that PDF loads — it’s huge.)
The map is a little intimidating at first, but once you delve into it, you’ll realise that the exploring the geography of Ganymede isn’t so different from exploring the geography of Earth. Different colours represent the different elements that make up the moon’s surface creating an almost marbled look as the minerals run together. Of course, Ganymede would need a little work before we can colonize it. But let’s just hope we never have to. [Brown]