The Ghosts of Ganymede

An essay by Dr. Krista Solaris, presented by Suzanne van Rooyen
Illustration by Katie Nyborg

For six months we hurtled through the solar system towards that bright rock so dwarfed by the shadow of its planet, Jupiter. At last we approached our destination. Ganymede lay ensconced in the stellar soup surrounding it, rippled purple and green, speckled light and dark. It was a sight to make us weep. As our craft decelerated, dropping inexorably towards that alien surface, we peered in reverent silence at the orb that we prayed would hold the key to the salvation of our species.

We were JUICE-wo/men, JUpiter ICy Explorers charged with the singular task of saving our perishing people by establishing a base on Ganymede. We’d had our hopes on Callisto, that moon furthest from the radiation of Jupiter, but a meteor had ripped her from the skies, rending her to shrapnel and dashing our dreams of a colony on the cratered rock.

And so Salvation I embarked on a mission for the largest of the Galilean Moons, Ganymede. There, we’d pull cores from her frozen oceans, praying for the chemical composition to meet terraforming standards. We were also charged with investigating anomalous features of the geology while Earth’s terraforming armada awaited our signal to deploy. We were Earth’s emissaries, come to rape and pillage the silent satellite of her natural resources and establish our New Earth colony in her crater scars.

The Ghosts of Ganymede

They do not speak to me. They flutter on the periphery, never more than a dancing a shadow, a restless ghost with eyes that sparkle like swamp fire but never return my gaze.

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Spring 2012 collection.

Born in Staffordshire, England, Dr. Krista Solaris graduated with an M.Sc. from the University of Cambridge before pursuing a Ph.D. in terraformation science at MIT. Graduating top of her class, Solaris was recruited by NASA for the JUICE program. She departed for Ganymede on the ill-fated Salvation I expedition and to date, no trace has been found of her or her team. When not assisting NASA with terraformation strategies, Solaris could be found curled up on the couch with a good book, glass of Chardonnay and her cat, Mr. Higgs boson.

Suzanne van Rooyen is a freelance writer and author, born in South Africa and currently living in Finland. Her publishing credits include the cyberpunk novel ‘Dragon’s Teeth’ published by Divertir Publishing, LLC, short stories published by Golden Visions Magazine amongst others, and numerous non-fiction articles published across the globe. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, she prefers writing strange tales across the many sub-genres of speculative fiction and playing in the snow with her rambunctious shiba inu. She can be found at

Katie Nyborg’s art, plus information regarding hiring her, can be found at

Follow us online:
This entry was posted in Fiction and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.