Sun. Jan 19th, 2020

The water of Europe | Science

He lonely last week Supports several solutions. For example, the one found by Carlos Valladares: 4 of spades, 3 of hearts, 8 of diamonds, Ace of clubs, King of spades / clubs, 2 of diamonds, Jack of hearts, 7 of clubs, Queen of spades, 10 of diamonds , 6 of clubs, 5 of diamonds, 9 of diamonds.

The number of different possible solutions depends on the distribution of the cards. It is easy to see that the maximum will be given when we can choose any letter from the first column, then any one from the second and so on; and that will happen when in each column there are four cards of the same value, with which we will have 413 different possibilities (more than 67 million).

More difficult is to find the distribution of letters that will allow the least number of possible solutions, and some readers continue to turn the problem around (see comments from last week). I could say that I do not give the solution so as not to deprive these readers of the pleasure of continuing to try; but the truth is that I don't know her.

Loners with letters and other elements are an inexhaustible source of riddles and logical hobbies (in fact, they are logical hobbies in themselves). I invite my sagacious readers to share what they know.

Europe's water

Europe first

When raising, last week, the possibility of visiting Enceladus as a candidate to harbor life, some readers commented that before we would have to go to Europe, one of Jupiter's largest satellites, which is closer and has very similar conditions.

It is true; the only difference in favor of Enceladus is that in this Saturn satellite there is evidence of the presence of complex molecules of carbon chemistry, which is the basis of life as we know it. But it is very likely that in Europe they also exist, given that, under the smooth layer of ice that covers it, there is an ocean of salt water similar to terrestrial and even richer in dissolved oxygen than ours, and in the dim atmosphere of the Satellite there is also free oxygen.

Not surprisingly, Arthur C. Clarke chose Europe as the setting for an evolution propitiated by the very advanced civilization of 2001: a space odyssey. In its sequel, 2010: Odyssey Two, Clarke imagines a primitive form of aquatic life in the salty ocean of Europe. When a Chinese spacecraft lands the satellite to refuel water, that way of life destroys it. But, thanks to the monolith builders, who make Jupiter a dwarf star, that primitive life will evolve into an intelligent species.

Clarke has not been the only author who has speculated on the possibilities of life in Europe; not a few works of science fiction (movies, novels, stories) have approached the subject with greater or lesser fortune. Do you remember any especially interesting?

And, speaking of speculation, there is no reason to let “invent them”, as they say Unamuno said. Taking into account the characteristics of Europe, which is the smoothest body in the Solar System, it has a surface gravity that is 13% of the Earth's and a thin atmosphere that contains oxygen, what vehicle would you design to move around its surface?

Carlo Frabetti He is a writer and mathematician, a member of the New York Academy of Sciences. He has published more than 50 popular science works for adults, children and young people, including Damn physics, damn math or The big game. He was a screenwriter of The Cristal ball.

. (tagsToTranslate) water (t) europe (t) arthur c. clarke (t) speculate (t) possibility (t) have (t) life (t) great (t) ocean (t) salar (t) satellite

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