- Note - As always, these serious allegations
would seem to require some response from Richard Hoagland. Again, we urge
him to address these issues as soon as possible. His response will be published
here as soon as received.
- Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 17:10:01 -0800
- From: Ralph Greenberg <email@example.com>
- To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Subject: Europa and Hoagland
- Dear Mr. Rense,
- I've noticed that you have provided a
forum on your website about Hoagland's claim of credit for the Abydos glyphs.
There is another issue that should be brought to the attention of the public.
- As you may know, I have written a long
and well-documented article on the history of the idea that Europa might
have an ocean. Over the years, many people have been misled by Richard
Hoagland to believe that he was the originator of that idea, as well as
the idea that life might develop in such an ocean.
- It has given him a tremendous amount
of undeserved credibility.
- Since June of 1997, I have been trying
very hard to correct this distortion of history. I've informed a relatively
small number of people about my article. I would like to bring it to the
attention of as many people as possible. If I wrote a relatively short
piece pointing out how Hoagland has distorted this history, would you consider
providing a similar forum for that?
- You can find my article on my homepage
- It will be obvious how much work I put
into writing that article. It is not intended to criticize Hoagland at
all. I just wanted to set the record straight.
- But my fax to Art Bell, which you can
find there, will give you an idea of my futile attempt to get some honesty
about this issue onto his show.
- --Ralph Greenberg
- Professor of Mathematics
- University of Washington
- Seattle, WA
- Fax To Art Bell Asking For
- The following is the text of a fax sent
to Art Bell on December 15th, 1997. A similar fax had been sent to him
on December 4th, 1997 and also a few days later, all with the hope that
he would at least partially read one of them to his audience.
- In February and March, 1998, I sent several
other faxes to Art Bell which were much shorter and which were mostly a
copy of part of a letter that I received from Arthur C. Clarke.
- Art Bell has never shared any of these
faxes with his audience.
- Dear Art,
- On December 4th, 1997, Richard Hoagland
was a guest on your show. I was very dismayed to hear him make the claim
that he was the first person to write a "scientific paper" proposing
the ideas that Europa might possibly have a global liquid water ocean and
that life might possibly develop in such an ocean. This is a rather misleading
and factually incorrect statement. I feel that your audience deserves to
hear an accurate version of the history of those ideas and hope that you
will share the following brief summary with them.
- In the 1950s, the astronomer G.P.Kuiper
discovered evidence that the surface of Europa and some of the other satellites
of Jupiter seemed to be covered with water in the form of ice or frost.
This was finally confirmed in the early 1970s. In an article published
in 1971, John S. Lewis proposed and studied the possibility that Europa
and other ice-covered bodies in our solar system might actually have a
liquid water ocean under a crust of ice. This idea was explored in a number
of articles by various scientists during the 1970s.
- One important one which appeared in 1976
by John S. Lewis and G.J.Consolmagno gives rather detailed estimates of
the possible thickness of the ice crust and the possible depth of an ocean
that might exist on Europa and other moons of Jupiter. These estimates
are based on various sets of assumptions about the early history and the
composition of those bodies. For example, in one of their models, they
estimate that Europa might have an ice crust 70-km thick covering an ocean
of water 100-km deep, all of this over a rocky core 1400-km in radius.
The underlying idea is that radioactive decay in the core might produce
enough heat to maintain a liquid water ocean.
- In 1979, another idea was proposed which
focused attention specifically on Europa. Two NASA scientists--P. Cassen
and R.T.Reynolds--together with a physicist S.J.Peale from the University
of California wrote an article entitled "Is there liquid water on
Europa?" Their idea was that the gravitational forces which Jupiter
and Ganymede (another of Jupiter's moons) exert on Europa might generate
enough frictional heat to maintain a liquid water ocean on Europa. Under
one set of reasonable assumptions, they estimate that Europa might have
an ice crust under 10-kms in thickness covering a liquid water ocean with
a depth of about 90-kms.
- In 1979, there were two Voyager missions
to the Jupiter system. This article about Europa was written about one
month before Voyager 2 started sending back high resolution images of Europa
in July, 1979. At the end of their article, the authors expressed hope
that such images might provide some evidence, one way or the other, concerning
the existence of an ocean on Europa. I think that there can be little doubt
that this article was widely discussed around NASA because these very same
scientists had published another article just a few days before Voyager
1 passed by Io (another moon of Jupiter) in which they made a very startling
prediction that extensive volcanic activity should exist on Io. Within
a few weeks, the images from Voyager 1 confirmed that their prediction
about Io was correct.
- The idea that a liquid water ocean under
a thick crust of ice might exist on Europa and some of the other moons
of Jupiter seems to have become rather widely known by the end of the 1970s.
I have even found several books written for the general public at the end
of that decade which discuss that possibility. To me, it seems quite obvious
that the possibility of such an ocean would lead many people to speculate
about the existence of life in such an environment. In fact, Carl Sagan
had already included Europa and Ganymede in a short list of bodies in our
solar system which he believed had some potential for the existence of
life. This was in an article he wrote in 1971. He included Europa and Ganymede
because of the evidence that they might have water in the form of ice or
frost on their surfaces. The possibility of an ocean of water would certainly
be far more encouraging. However, one obvious and serious issue is the
fact that, under a thick crust of ice, photosynthesis would probably be
a very unlikely possibility. There would have to be an alternative basis
for the chemistry of life that could evolve in such an environment.
- I have found several cases where various
individuals presented such speculations to the general public or to the
scientific community. The first that I found was in Scotland. There is
a very active group of amateur and professional astronomers in Scotland,
called ASTRA, which sponsors public lectures and discussions about all
aspects of astronomy. In 1976, some of their members proposed various ideas
about how life might develop on Europa and Ganymede . For example, they
suggested that complex molecules might be synthesized by electrical storms
in the thin atmospheres of these bodies, that such compounds might seep
down into liquid water reservoirs or oceans under the surface, and that
volcanic activity deep down might provide an alternative energy source
to light. These ideas are reported on in a book written by Duncan Lunan,
entitled New Worlds for Old, published in 1979.
- In a delightful book entitled Life Beyond
Earth, Gerald Feinberg and Robert Shapiro propose some general ideas about
the chemistries which could be a basis for life in unearth-like environments.
Feinberg presented some of these ideas in a lecture that he gave at a conference
Extraterrestials--Where Are They? at the University of Maryland in November,
1979. In their book the authors discuss Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto
based on the models proposed by Lewis and Consolmagno in 1976. They write
that if life is to develop in the putative oceans of such bodies under
a thick crust of ice, it is crucial that some energy sources exist which
can provide heat in concentrated form. They mention the possibility of
volcanic eruptions or upwellings of hot gases from the core. They compare
such environments to those which were discovered in 1977 on Earth at places
on the ocean bottom where hot springs emerge providing sites which have
an abundance of living creatures. Their book, three years in the writing,
was published in 1980.
- Another scientific conference occurred
at NASA's Ames Research Center in June, 1979, which was called Life in
the Universe. The exobiologist Ben Clark gave a lecture at that conference
where he also discussed the possibility of life developing in buried liquid
water reservoirs or oceans on Europa, Ganymede and some other ice-covered
bodies. Inspired by the 1977 discoveries of small, isolated ecosystems
near hot springs at ocean bottoms here on Earth, he suggested that something
similar might happen on such bodies. But he pointed out that photosynthesis
does in fact play some role in these ecosystems on Earth. He proposed some
specific alternative chemistries, based on Sulfur, which might provide
a basis for life in the possible oceans of Europa and other bodies without
- Finally I will mention the imaginative
and inspiring article written by your frequent guest Richard Hoagland.
His article, entitled "The Europa Enigma" appeared in the January,
1980 issue of Star & Sky . In that article, Hoagland discusses the
possibility that an ocean might have existed and might still exist under
an icy crust, summarizing some of the scientific articles that had appeared
on this topic. He speculates about how complex organic compounds might
develop and that undersurface volcanic activity might provide a possible
energy source for life to evolve. There are many interesting ideas in that
article. As many people in your audience might know, Hoagland's article
inspired Arthur C. Clarke to use Europa as a background for his novel 2010:
- I would like to quote one paragraph from
a letter which I received recently from Arthur C. Clarke concerning Hoagland's
article and the ideas that Europa might have an ocean and that life might
develop there. "I am also grateful to him [Dick Hoagland] for the
excellent 1980 article he wrote--my first introduction to the idea. Since
then I have become aware of the fact that many others had thought of it
first, as you point out."
- What I've written above is a summary
of a much longer survey of the history of these ideas about Europa which
I wrote last May and circulated among various scientists and journalists.
I also sent a copy to Arthur C. Clarke and to Richard Hoagland. I sent
a second copy to Hoagland in September. Perhaps you can understand why
I was quite disturbed by Hoagland's statement on your show a few weeks
ago. I would be very appreciative if you could take the time to read what
- Sincerely yours,
- Ralph Greenberg
- Professor of Mathematics
- University of Washington
- Seattle, WA
- Date: Sat, 6 Mar 1999 22:01:17 -0800
- From: Ralph Greenberg <email@example.com
- To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Subject: Europa and Hoagland
- Dear Jeff,
- Thanks for putting my note and fax on
your website. Here is a transcription of the part of the December 4th,
1997 broadcast of the Art Bell Show which my fax refers to. This was transcribed
by a friend of mine.
- ART BELL: "Richard, you are, I believe,
originally noted for your investigation into the monuments of Mars, and
then, following that, uh, artifacts that you have shown on the moon."
- RICHARD HOAGLAND: "Well actually,
even before that, back in the 1980's, I was looking very hard at a little
moon of Jupiter called Europa, and when I was covering the Voyager story
out at JPL in the Summer of 1979, actually the spring of 1979 and the Winter
of 1980, we flew this extraordinary spacecraft, NASA did, by Jupiter for
the first time and encountered the four moons, you know, Io, Ganymede,
Europa, Callisto, and Jupiter itself, and it was as part of that observation
that I began work on essentially what turned out to be the first scientific
paper, which ultimately appeared in Star and Sky Magazine in the beginning
of 1980, which was a prognostication, pulling all the data together, that
there might be a global ocean under the ice cover that Voyager had revealed
on Europa, and that in that global ocean there actually might be some extant
living life forms. Well, they used to say that if you wait long enough
sometimes things come around. Well, this last year, with the Gallileo Mission,
in orbit around Jupiter, some 17 years after that set of predictions, it
turns out that probably we are correct."
- During 1996 and 1997, the subject of
Richard Hoagland's January, 1980 article about Europa was mentioned rather
frequently on the Art Bell Show. Once it took an extremely ugly turn when,
one night, Hoagland accused a scientist named Steven Squyres of taking
false credit because he failed to mention Hoagland's article in a lecture
about life on Europa. Anyone who missed that can read something about it
- But I haven't heard Richard Hoagland
mention his article about Europa in more than a year. It may be that my
faxes did have an effect. Nevertheless, on the Enterprise Mission website,
one still finds an extremely misleading statement, which clearly is intended
to give the impression that Hoagland was the first to propose the idea
that an ocean might exist on Europa and that life might develop there.
It can be found here:
- I hope that it will soon be changed and
replaced by a much-needed apology. (I don't mean an apology to the various
amateur and professional scientists who thought about Europa before Hoagland.
That is of little importance. What is needed is an apology to the public
who was deliberately misled by Hoagland about this issue.)
- Ralph Greenberg
- Contact information is on my website