Jupiter XII

Jupiter's moons in fiction

Jupiter's extensive system of natural satellites – in particular the four large Galilean moons (Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto) – has been a common science fiction setting.

Satellite system

Some references in fiction focus on more than one moon, or do not refer to a specific moon.


Film and television

  • In the anime Cowboy Bebop (1998), various episodes take place on Jupiter's moons. In "Mushroom Samba" the crew was on its way to Europa, but had to land on Io. The two-part episode "Jupiter Jazz" takes part on Callisto, and "Ganymede Elegy", obviously takes place on Ganymede.
  • In the Japanese animated TV show Space Battleship Yamato, the Yamato destroys a Gamilon base hidden on a moon of Jupiter with its "wave motion gun".
  • The motion picture 2010 involves Io and Europa.


  • In The Lost Episodes of Doom, an unofficial expansion pack for the game Doom, the three episodes take place on Io, Callisto, and Jupiter's Great Red Spot (which was actually a Gateway To Hell.) In reality, a human would be unable to survive these conditions.



Io is the closest of the Galilean satellites to Jupiter. It is almost the same size as Earth's Moon. Because of its position, it is subject to constant tidal flexing and heavy radiation from Jupiter's magnetic field. Since 1979, it has also been known for its abundant volcanism.



  • In Frank R. Paul's series of back cover illustrations for Fantastic Adventures (May 1940) and Amazing Stories (July 1941), Io was inhabited by furry, black-and-white intelligent beings living in the city of Crystallis, built entirely of crystals.

Film and television

  • Outland (1981), starring Sean Connery, is set in a mining colony on Io.
  • In the TV series V (1983–1985), what appears to be the moon Io is destroyed (vaporized) by the most powerful single weapon possessed by the Visitors from Sirius, the Particle Beam Triax.
  • In the Red Dwarf universe (1988–1999), Arnold Judas Rimmer was born and raised on Io.
  • In the animated television series Exosquad (1993–1995), Io is the Exofleet's main base of operations after the Neosapien conquest of the homeworlds and the scene of several critical battles in the Terran-Neosapien War in the show's second season.
  • In the science fiction TV series Babylon 5 (1993–1999), Io is home to an Earth Alliance colony, second in size only to the colony on Mars. The Sol system's jumpgate is stationed in orbit around Io along with an Orion-Class Starbase serving as a transfer station for all spacecraft entering or leaving the system. There is also a research colony on Ganymede and a "ice mining operation" that is referred to as "a real cesspool of crime" on Europa.
  • In the Australian ABC television series Escape from Jupiter (1994), a mining colony exists on Io. The moon's core destablises and the colonists are forced to evacuate to the space station, KL5, in orbit around Io.
  • In Star Trek: Voyager (1995–2001) when the EMH travels back to the Alpha Quadrant, arriving at Jupiter Station in order to save Lewis Zimmerman's life, Lewis tells him to "tour Jupiter's fourth moon. I hear the lava flows are excellent this time of year".
  • In the BBC docudrama Space Odyssey: Voyage To The Planets (2005), about a hypothetical manned mission to various points of the Solar System, one astronaut lands on Io to collect samples of its rocks. However, due to radiation risks and the astronaut becoming exhausted, the EVA on Io is aborted early and the samples are abandoned.
  • In the anime Heroic Age, Jupiter is destroyed when a high-powered energy gun is used to knock Io out of orbit. It plummets into the atmosphere and ignites it, and intervention by the Silver and Bronze fleets leads to a cataclysmic explosion.


  • In the 1982 adventure role playing computer game Ultima II, the player must travel through various worlds, including Io, to complete the game.
  • The Superior Software game Pipeline (1989) is set on a sulfur mine on Io.
  • Level 11 of the computer game Descent (1995) is also set in a sulfur mine on Io.
  • In the game Disruptor (1996) for the Sony PlayStation, there is a level that is set within "the sulphurine mines of Io".
  • In the computer (and Sony Playstation) game Final Doom, the first set of levels take place on a fictional research base moved to Io.
  • In the computer game ZeroZone (1997), Io is one of the settings.
  • "Planet Io" (which may be the moon or not) is the setting of the 1997 computer game Planet of Death (POD).
  • A few missions of Battlezone I (1998) are set on the surface of Io and Europa. Ganymede is featured exclusively in the Red Odyssey expansion.
  • In the Xbox game Halo 2 (2004). During the award ceremony, Cortana interrupts and says to Lord Hood, "Another whisper, Sir, near Io. We have probes en route." In the expanded Halo universe a series of battles for the colonization of Jupiter's moons known as the Jovian Moons Campaign raged in the year 2160.
  • In the backstory for the Xbox game Halo (2001). The United Nations Colonial Advisors on Io came under attack by "Frieden" secessionist forces which eventually led to an interplanetary scale war called the "Interplanetary War".
  • In the game Final Fantasy VI, Io was a robotic boss creature that guarded the pathway to the Gate of the Espers. The monster became a regular enemy, as well as becoming available on the Veldt.


Europa is the smallest of the four Galilean satellites and the second closest to Jupiter. It is theorized to have an ocean of liquid water underneath its icy surface; the thickness of the ice is much debated. The probable presence of the water ocean has made it a favored location for modern fictional speculation about extraterrestrial life in the Solar system.


  • Europa plays a very important role in the book and film of Arthur C. Clarke's 2010: Odyssey Two (1982) and its sequels. Super-advanced aliens aiding the development of life take an interest in the primitive life forms under Europa's ice and transform Jupiter into a star to kick-start their evolution. The aliens grant humans the other three Galilean moons of Jupiter to settle, but the humans are specifically instructed not to land on, let alone colonize, Europa in order to give the local life time to develop. There is an implication of unpleasant consequences otherwise. In 2061: Odyssey Three (1988), Europa has become a tropical ocean world. A landing is made by a hijacked spacecraft, but the involuntary nature of the visit is recognized and the retrieval of the crew is permitted.
  • Stanley G. Weinbaum's 1936 short story "Redemption Cairn" pictures Europa with a small Earthlike area on its Jupiter-facing side.
  • In Schismatrix (1985), Europa is inhabited by genetically re-engineered posthumans as a philosophical/political statement by Abelard Lindsay's Lifesider's clique.
  • In Greg Bear's novel The Forge of God (1987), Europa is destroyed by aliens who use chunks of its ice to terraform planets.
  • In his short story "A Spy in Europa" (1997), set in his Revelation Space universe, Alastair Reynolds depicts an advanced human society called the Demarchists who are based in colonies on Europa, that mainly cling to the underside of the ice crust at the top of the subsurface ocean. They go on in later novels to become one of three social groups that dominate interstellar colonization. The Demarchist civilisation on Europa is later wiped out.
  • Bud Sparhawk's 1998 novella Ice Dragon's Song describes a 12 year old's trek across the face of icy Europa.
  • Creatures from Europa feature prominently in the Dan Simmons science fiction novel Ilium (2003).
  • In Europa Strike by Ian Douglas, a massive ancient alien spacecraft lies in an ocean beneath the moon's surface, the discovery of which leads to a battle between Chinese forces and US Marines in 2067.
  • Caitlín R. Kiernan's 2004 short story "Riding the White Bull" has probes discovering an ecosystem in the sea beneath Europa's ice and subsequently infecting Earth with a sentient Europan microbe.
  • The comic book Ocean by Warren Ellis is set around Europa and the discovery of an ancient race of aliens in hibernation below the surface. At the climax the moon is destroyed by a horrific weapon.


  • In Frank R. Paul's series of back cover illustrations for Amazing Stories (September 1940, January 1942), Europa was inhabited by red, beetle-like intelligent beings who rode domesticated centipedes and lived inside immense transparent plastic domes in a city called Oor.

Film and television

  • Europa plays a very important role in the book and film of Arthur C. Clarke's 2010: Odyssey Two (see above in the Literature category).
  • The online script serial Banana Chan features Europa as a destination for Space Tourists in its 12th episode.
  • On episode 17 ("Mushroom Samba") of the anime Cowboy Bebop, the crew of the Bebop is heading towards Europa when, after being involved in a hit and run accident, end up stranded on Io.
  • In the anime series Geneshaft, Europa is not merely a moon, but a giant computer housing an AI called Oberus. Oberus uses Rings of its own creation to monitor the evolution of humanity and acts as a failsafe, should humanity threaten the natural order of the universe. In the final episode of the series, Oberus is forced to run its final program, attempting to use its rings to "crush" the sun. It is stopped from completing the process when the Shaft creates a Ring around Europa, terraforming the entire moon.
  • In the anime series gundam seed George Glenn explores the moon and finds evidence of alien life forms.


  • In the video game Infantry, large cities lie underneath the ice sheets of Europa.
  • In the video game Battlezone, Europa is featured as a cold, ice covered world, where battles take place in cracks between the ice.
  • The computer game Abyss: Incident at Europa involves an underwater base in Europa's ocean.
  • The computer game Descent has two levels set on Europa: level 13 (Europa Mining Colony) and level 14 (Europa CO2 Mine). Its second sequel, Descent 3 also has a level on Europa in which the player must destroy an energy refinery. The game depicts Europa as a snowy landscape.
  • In the role-playing game Transhuman Space (2002), life is discovered around hydrothermal vents in the oceans of Europa. Subsequently, a war begins under the ice between those who seek to preserve the native microbial fauna and those who wish to adapt sapient life of Earthly origin to live near the vents.
  • In the video game StarLancer, the introductory cinematic depicts a surprise attack on Fort Kennedy located on Europa.
  • In the PS1 game Carnage Heart, Europa is one of three of Jupiter's moons on which you battle to defend the mining outposts from the Drakken Group, a huge conglomerate comprising a few hundred of the world's biggest corporations.
  • The PC action/ shooter Absolute Zero (video game) depicted a battle between strange aliens that rose from the ice of Europa and the human colonists.


Ganymede is the third of the Galilean moons from Jupiter. It is the largest moon in the Solar system, bigger than the planet Mercury. Ganymede's size made it a popular location for early science fiction authors looking for locations beyond Mars that might be inhabitable by humans. In reality, Ganymede is a cold, icy, cratered world with a vanishingly thin atmosphere.


  • In the short story Tidal Moon (1938) by Stanley G. Weinbaum and Helen Weinbaum, most of Ganymede's surface is flooded every three months due to Jupiter's tides.
  • In the short stories Not Final (1941) and Victory Unintentional (1942) by Isaac Asimov, a conflict arises between humans living on Ganymede and the inhabitants of Jupiter.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's work:
  • Leigh Brackett's short story The Dancing Girl of Ganymede (1950) is set on a volcanic, jungle-covered Ganymede.
  • In Poul Anderson's novella The Snows of Ganymede (1954), a party of terraformers visits a settlement on Ganymede called X which was established two centuries earlier by American religious fanatics.
  • In Poul Anderson's Three Worlds to Conquer (1964), human settlers on Ganymede, threatened by the power-mad captain of a space warship, make contact with a sympathetic culture on the Jovian surface - tribespeople menaced by invading cruel barbarians - and eventually manage to help each other overcome their respective enemies.
  • Ganymede is referred to in virtually all of Philip K. Dick's novels from the 50s and 60s, although it seldom receives more than a brief mention, with two exceptions. In Clans of the Alphane Moon (1964), we are introduced to Lord Running Clam, an intelligent slime mold from Ganymede. The Ganymede Takeover (1967) involves sentient wormlike gestalt aliens who have invaded Earth.
  • In the Lester Del Rey novel The Runaway Robot (1965), the main character Paul and his robot live in a colony on Ganymede at the beginning of the story.
  • The Goddess of Ganymede and Pursuit on Ganymede (1968). Sword and planet adventure by Mike Resnick.
  • James P. Hogan wrote a series that eventually spanned five books (Inherit the Stars (1977), The Gentle Giants of Ganymede (1978), Giants' Star (1981), Entoverse (1991) and Mission to Minerva (2005)) in which an alien race which inhabited a destroyed fifth planet between Mars and Jupiter is discovered in the hulk of an abandoned spacecraft discovered on Ganymede.
  • In the series of novels collectively called Bio of a Space Tyrant (1983-6) by Piers Anthony, the moon is analogous to 20th century Cuba, and is the focus of a futuristic missile crisis.
  • In Arthur C. Clarke's novel 2061: Odyssey Three (1987), Ganymede is warmed by the new sun Lucifer and contains a large equatorial lake. It is the centre of human colonization of the Jovian system.
  • The 1991 science fiction novel Buddy Holly Is Alive and Well on Ganymede, by Bradley Denton (ISBN 0-688-10822-9 and ISBN 0-380-71876-6), begins when television sets throughout the world suddenly begin broadcasting a concert by an apparently living Buddy Holly, who says he is on Ganymede.
  • The majority of events in The Ganymede Club (1995), a science fiction mystery by Charles Sheffield, take place on Ganymede.
  • Yo visite Ganımedes (I visited Ganymede, 1996) by Peruvian writer Yosip Ibrahim relates in first person the story of a friend Pepe that keeps contacts with a civilisation in Ganymede. In this perfect civilisation, whose inhabitants communicate via telepathy, there are no wars or illnesses. The book follows the UFO religion line and plays with the story being actually true.
  • In the 1998 science fiction novel Bloom by Will McCarthy, Earth’s ecosystem is destroyed by a grey goo, annihilating all biological life. The grey goo then develops its own unique “ecosystem”. The only human survivors are colonists on Ganymede.
  • In the novel Orphanage (2004) by Robert Buettner, an alien race uses Ganymede as a staging area for a war against Earth.


  • In Frank R. Paul's series of back cover illustrations for Amazing Stories (October 1940, February 1942), Ganymede was inhabited by ferocious tiger-women who ride Dinosaurs. They live in the crater city of Gatos, which derives its power from the moon's magnetic field.

Film and television

  • In the Star Trek episode "By Any Other Name" (1968), Scotty asserts a green beverage was obtained on Ganymede, but he is quite drunk in this scene and might be mistaken.
  • The made-for-TV German movie "Operation Ganymed" (1977) tells the story of five astronauts returning from an expedition to Ganymede. They find a seemingly desolate Earth and are trying to find out what happened while they were in space.
  • In the Power Rangers TV series (1993-), Ganymede is the hiding place chosen by Zordon as the hiding space for a fleet of Zords known as the Mega Vehicles, which combine to form the Mega Voyager. The Space Rangers locate these Zords after winning Key Cards from Darkonda in a card game. ("Flashes of Darkonda", "The Rangers' Mega Voyage").
  • In the science fiction TV series Babylon 5 (1993-1999), the Shadows bury a Battle Crab under the surface of Ganymede, which is dug up during the third season episode Messages From Earth (1996).
  • In the animated television series The King of Braves GaoGaiGar (1997), many of the 31 Machine Primevals fuse with Jupiter's satellites as their last stand against heroic Gutsy Galaxy Guard. The Primeval to fuse with Ganymede is Lungs Primeval (ZX-17), which creates a "Klein Space" within itself (a pocket dimension bearing spatial geometry similar to that of a klein bottle) in an attempt to seal GGG away upon their arrival in Jovian orbit.
  • In the anime series Cowboy Bebop (1998), Ganymede is depicted as an aquatic planet, a terraformed world that is entirely covered in water. Animal life, most likely created by human intervention, is also depicted, such as the Ganymede searat, a species of rodent-like seal. About 7 million people live on it in floating colonies which are supported on large barge-type foundations. The character Jet Black was a police officer on Ganymede, and presumably was born there. Jet also has a watch that is apparently from Ganymede which seems to imply a 30-hour day. Jet has been quoted during the series (Episode Hard Luck Woman) saying "A woman's heart is as fickle as the skies of Ganymede."
  • In the anime series Geneshaft, Ganymede is the home of a human research outpost. It is also the former home of the extinct race that are assumed to have created humanity, the Giants of Ganymede. Their technology was unearthed and studied, culminating in the construction of the Bilkis and the Shaft.
  • "Ganymede" is the very first word spoken (or, rather, sung) in the first episode of the TV series Red Dwarf, as the character Dave Lister sings a song that begins "Ganymede and Titan, yes sir, I've been around..." In series 2 episode 4 ("Stasis Leak"), Dave Lister and Cat travel back in time through a leak in one of Red Dwarf's stasis rooms and go to the "Ganymede Holiday Inn" to search for Kristine Kochanski so that Lister may convince her to put herself in stasis in order to avoid the deadly radiation leak that kills the entire crew.


  • In the 32nd Millennium of the Warhammer 40,000 (1987) Universe, Ganymede is destroyed during a Warp Core experiment that goes horribly wrong.
  • In the DOS game One Must Fall: 2097, the prize for victory in the tournament is the development right to Ganymede, which is also the home of the Angels, who seek to prevent their home being developed.
  • In the PC game FOM, Ganymede is a space colony which has been terraformed to support humanity.
  • In the game Target Earth for Sega Genesis, the first level "Assault on Ganymede", takes place on a space station set on Ganymede where the space-outcast enemies make their first strike.
  • In the 2nd season of animated series “Star Blazers,” (the Comet Empire) the Argo is repaired after the battle of Saturn at Ganymede Station
  • In the opening FMV of the video game Freelancer the Alliance escape fleet appears to launch from the surface of Ganymede. (though this isn't very clear).
  • In the PS1 game Carnage Heart, Ganymede is one of three of Jupiter's moons on which you battle to defend the mining outposts from the Drakken Group, a huge conglomerate comprising a few hundred of the worlds biggest corporations.
  • In the PC game Shadowgrounds and its sequel Shadowgrounds Survivor, the story takes place in colonized and terraformed Ganymede.
  • In the latest addition to the television series LOST alternate reality game (Dharma Wants You), Ganymede is a group that a contestant can be assigned to.


Callisto is the outermost of the Galilean satellites. It is a large moon, only slightly smaller than the planet Mercury. It is cold, icy, and heavily cratered, with a very tenuous atmosphere. Despite its size, it has not been featured in fiction as much as the other Galilean satellites.


  • In H. P. Lovecraft's Beyond the Wall of Sleep (1919), the writer mentions in passing "the insect-philosophers that crawl proudly over the fourth moon of Jupiter."
  • In Isaac Asimov's story "The Callistan Menace" (1940), Callisto has an atmosphere of carbon dioxide and is inhabited by large slugs that use magnetic fields to stun their prey.
  • Lin Carter's eight-novel Callisto series (1972-1978) is set on an inhabitable Callisto.
  • In Piers Anthony's sci-fi series "Bio of a Space Tyrant" (1983-), Callisto is the home planet of Hope Hubris, the Tyrant of Jupiter.
  • The protagonist of Anne McCaffrey's telepathic-society novel The Rowan (1990) lives in a terraformed dome on Callisto.
  • Kim Stanley Robinson's novel Blue Mars (1996) contains a description of a flourishing colony on Callisto.
  • In the novel Wheelers by Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, a number of alien artifacts are found on Callisto shortly before the Galilean moons are observed to move, triggering the main events of the story.
  • In Philip K. Dick's short-story "The Mold of Yancy", colonists on Callisto conform to the messages of the near-constant broadcasts of the eponymous public commentator, Yancy, as he comments on almost every aspect of daily life.



  • In Frank R. Paul's series of back cover illustrations for Amazing Stories (August 1940, December 1941), Callisto was inhabited by blue-skinned, white-haired, four-tentacled humanoids. Their city, Serenis, consists of colonnaded dwellings around the rim of a green lake.

Film and television

  • Jupiter Moon (1990) was a short-lived British soap opera. It was set on a space university that orbited Callisto.
  • Cowboy Bebop (1998) features a snowy, Siberia-like Callisto, filled with fugitives and populated only by men.
  • Terrahawks (1983) Series 1, Episode 8, "The Sporilla" is set in a radio surveillance post on Callisto.


  • In the game Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner (2003), the protagonist, Dingo Egret, finds the Orbital Frame Jehuty buried in ice under Callisto's surface. It is also on Callisto, that Metatron is discovered.
  • In the video game series G-Police, your character is a pilot for a police force on Callisto.
  • In the computer game Descent, level 12 takes place at the Callisto Tower Colony.
  • In the PS1 game Carnage Heart, Callisto is one of three of Jupiter's moons on which you battle to defend the mining outposts from the Drakken Group, a huge conglomerate comprising a few hundred of the worlds biggest corporations.

Other moons


Amalthea, or Jupiter V, is the third moon from Jupiter and the largest of the inner satellites of Jupiter.

  • Arthur C. Clarke's short story Jupiter V (1951) is set on Amalthea; its plot depends on the moon's weak gravity, and explores what might happen if an astronaut were thrown from its surface.
  • James Blish's Cities in Flight series begins with the story They Shall Have Stars (1956), where a base has been established on Jupiter V. This base is the remote operations centre for the Bridge Project on Jupiter proper.
  • The Way to Amalthea is a scifi story by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky written in 1959.
  • In an early draft of 2001: A Space Odyssey novel the giant monolith is located on the surface of Amalthea (according to Arthur C. Clarke in The Lost Worlds of 2001 [1972]).
  • In the SHMUP Sol-Deace, the strongest line of the villain's defense and sixth level is on Amalthea.
  • Paul Preuss' Venus Prime series book 5, the diamond moon, and 6, the shining ones, deal with the exploration of Amalthea.
  • In the X-Entertainment Advent Calendar the villains Hare Winningham and Hssxxllo Usall were imprisoned on Amalthea.


Leda, or Jupiter XIII, is a small irregular satellite of Jupiter discovered in 1974.

  • Leda is technically the setting of the B-movie Fire Maidens from Outer Space (1956), about a space mission to "Jupiter's thirteenth moon". However, the moon was not discovered until after the film was made (and its surface is depicted as remarkably similar to the English countryside).


Pasiphaë (Jupiter VIII) is used as a setting in John Varley's novel The Ophiuchi Hotline, though it is referred to by its pre-1975 name, 'Poseidon'.


Sinope, or Jupiter IX, is a small irregular satellite of Jupiter. From the time of its discovery in 1914 until the discovery of Megaclite in 2000, it was the outermost of Jupiter's known moons. It is still the most distant Jovian moon to have a diameter of more than 10 km.

  • In Isaac Asimov's 1957 novel Lucky Starr and the Moons of Jupiter, an experimental ship design is located on "Jupiter Nine". Asimov erroneously calls the moon "Adrastea", although in 1957 it had no official name and had been unofficially dubbed "Hades", while "Adrastea" was unofficially used for Jupiter XII (now called Ananke). Asimov's confusion may have arisen from the fact that, of the moons known in the 1950s, Jupiter IX was the twelfth most distant from Jupiter, and Jupiter XII was the ninth. To add to the confusion, Adrastea is now used as the name of an inner satellite of Jupiter that was not discovered until 1979.
  • In Exosquad (1993–1995), Sinope was the location of the Neosapiens' top-secret super-weapon, Fusion Pulse Cannon. After the Cannon has been destroyed by the Terrans, Sinope was blown to asteroids by the explosion and, thus, ceased to exist.

See also


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