Enticing Trailer for New Movie about a Mission to Europa

by Nancy Atkinson on November 13, 2012

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Here’s a trailer from a new movie called “Europa Report” about a near-future mission to Jupiter’s moon, Europa, in search of extraterrestrial life. From the trailer, the film looks to be of extremely high quality, and it stars Sharlto Copley (District 9), with music score from composer Bear McCreary (Battlestar Galactica).

And while this is a sci-fi flick, the makers of “Europa Report” say they are trying to steep it in real science.

The PR for the film is just getting underway, but they have a realistic-looking website that appears to show webcam views from a spacecraft heading to Europa.


Here’s the blurb from the website:

For decades, scientists have theorized the existence of liquid water oceans on Jupiter’s moon, Europa. We’ve recently discovered new, captivating evidence that these sub-surface oceans do exist and could support life.

We’ve sent six astronauts from space programs throughout the world on a three year journey to Europa to explore its oceans and confirm these findings.

We’re proud to be at the forefront of the effort to prove the existence of extra-terrestrial life within our solar system, within our lifetimes.

And yep, like any film about spaceflight, something has to go wrong during the mission.

The release date for the film has not yet been set.


Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Mark Thomas November 13, 2012 at 5:07 PM

Lens flair – check
Dramatic music – check
Hot female lead – check.

Should be terrible.

Torbjörn Larsson November 13, 2012 at 7:49 PM

Hints of alien life/something going wrong – check.

But note that for scifi the gender of the lead(s) doesn’t matter for the correlation. It is famous for that.

Zoutsteen from Holland November 13, 2012 at 5:45 PM

-IF- Europa does harbor life, it would mean that any free roaming Jupiter sized planet with moons would add to the tally of possible life giving places in the Universe. Example, http://www.nasa.gov/topics/universe/features/planet20110518.html

Patrick Ahles November 13, 2012 at 6:36 PM

Wrong! Jupiter is not a free roaming planet, so if Europa harbours life, it simply means that Europa harbours life! No conclusion can be drawn on free roaming Jupiter sized planets with moons… You could conclude however that moons around gas giants in other solar systems could possibly harbour life.

Torbjörn Larsson November 13, 2012 at 7:43 PM

Not obviously wrong, since habitability of Europa is constrained by it orbiting Jupiter and the Sun has nothing to do with that. Unless you can make a different prediction, but I don’t see how.

We have to keep habitability (“life giving places”) apart from likelihood for life (“harbours life”) as the latter depends on environmental details the former doesn’t cover in all measures of habitability. Say, availability of organics.

There is an oxygen energy pathway that figures into some pathways for habitability on Europa, but enough oxygen is provided by cosmic rays. The oxygen supply would perhaps even increase outside a heliosheath, depending on if solar irradiation could contribute, as the CR irradiation goes up a factor 10. Naively roaming giant ice moons may have better habitability than Europa.*

* Personally I think the oxygen is more of a problem than a feature for early cells. But if they survive the oxygen onslaught, which would be delayed for a few million years after the ice cover forms, it would certainly help towards a more energetic biosphere.

lcrowell November 14, 2012 at 3:11 PM

These Jovian or Saturnian moons are potentially subsurface bio-planets. This is puts these planetary bodies in a different category and should be defined as “habitable” according to whether the tidal forces are sufficient to generate enough energy in the interior.

Biology on these moons may use sulfur as the oxidative element rather than oxygen. This sort of biochemistry is seen with life deep in ocean trenches. These moons may harbor sulfur as well. It is interesting that Io is full of sulfur that emerges onto the surface because the tidal forces are strong enough to keep it churned up.


VFRMark November 14, 2012 at 2:20 AM

He didn’t say Jupiter was free roaming. Just sayin..

Patrick Ahles November 14, 2012 at 7:44 AM

He is talking about Europa, the moon of Jupiter, a NON free roaming planet. He can’t draw a conclusion on free roaming planets then. Just sayin…

Ethan Walker November 14, 2012 at 8:46 AM

And yet the tidal power that would enable life in europa’s oceans is completely independent of Jupiter’s orbit around the sun, so the fact that Jupiter is not a roaming planet is irrelevant to the matter.

Dave Mick November 14, 2012 at 8:37 PM

It depends on where the energy for life is coming from, very little of Europa’s energy is Solar input, most of it is tidal heating, therefore the moon of a free roaming planet may under go almost exactly the same processes. You should also note that Zousteen did not definitely state there would be life, only that it was possible. Perhaps you should read through more carefully before starting with ‘Wrong!’.

meekGee November 13, 2012 at 7:47 PM

Art imitating… well… Other art imitating other art.

(for all you Stanley Kubrick fans)


filledout November 13, 2012 at 9:07 PM

I’m sick of studios passing halfwitted horror films as SciFi. With all glorious works of Asimov, Reynolds, Banks et al, they still pick out the same formulaic, nonsensical plot. Morlocks again? Do they read at all?

paul w November 14, 2012 at 12:16 AM

I left the sound off and almost got a seizure watching that.

Nice graphics…from the few nanoseconds of footage I saw.

As for the storyline, well…I ‘aint holding my breath. The very first Star Wars lost me when they had sound in space. Sound! I was the only one in the theatre gobsmaked at this outrage. If it’s anything like the usual rubbish from H******d it should have credibility holes one could drive a truck through. And that’s a truck on fire, with a nuclear warhead in the back about to detonate, driven by a rough-shaven, ripped dude in torn shirt, his new lover beside him – she HATED him at the start, and guns, lots of guns…oh, dear god, I cannot go on…

Anyway, I wonder if 2001: A Space Odyssey would even be made now. I mean, where is the pounding music that makes up for the lack of drama? And what about those shots that linger for more than a second! Hell, I’m bored, change the view! And where are the slow-mo explosions!

Robert Clark November 14, 2012 at 7:37 PM

Looks cool. Thanks for that.

Bob Clark

John Stock November 19, 2012 at 4:57 AM


Patrick Ahles November 14, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Please look at the original statement. If B follows from the premise A, and C follows from the premise A, it doesn’t make B equal to C…

Ethan Walker November 14, 2012 at 9:02 AM

If life is possible in europa, and the mechanism enabling that life is unconnected to Jupiter’s orbit around the sun (i.e. you could magically transport Jupiter to intersteller space and life would continue) then the existence of life in europa would demonstrate that under the right conditions life could exist in rogue exomoons. Describe clearly which part of this you are having trouble with.

Jeffrey Scott Boerst November 14, 2012 at 9:29 PM

Not unless you’re hypothesis holds assumptions which it does. He was suggesting that since Jupiter which can have a moon with an ocean, independent of the system’s star, then a free roaming one (as it’s implied by, “free roaming” that it also doesn’t have a star near enough for it’s effects to be needed to generate a suitable environment for life), would be in a similar enough state that it too could mimic Jupiter’s sunless influenced environment. Don’t be so anal about having a perfectly stated argument, as this is a comment thread and not an analytic paper…

Patrick Ahles November 14, 2012 at 9:45 AM

I don’t have any trouble with what you’re saying. I have a problem with what Zoutsteen is saying. He is saying that life on moons of free roaming planets is possible IF (and only if) Europa harbours life. He is not talking about tidal forces from the planet or the sun. That is what you brought in to the discussion. A moon orbiting a free roaming planet is not the same as a moon orbiting a star-orbiting planet. In the latter case other forces are at work, no matter how small.

Ethan Walker November 14, 2012 at 4:43 PM

Zoutsteen is saying the same thing I am saying. And nowhere does he say that life on free floating moons is only possible if Europa harbors life. Zoutsteen does not have to mention tidal forces, since these generally understood to be Europa’s power source. A moon orbiting a free floating planet is not exactly the same as europa, but I (and others) have made an argument that the “other forces” are irrelevant. Is your position that no generalizations are possible in science at all?

Patrick Ahles November 14, 2012 at 7:31 PM

I’m sorry Ethan, but you do see the first word he wrote in his comment? Maybe you can read this first: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conditional_sentence ? Can we stop this discussion now? Remember, the article is talking about a SciFi movie…

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