To the reader: The article below concerns an individual named Richard Hoagland. Many readers may be familiar with him since he is a frequent guest on the popular late-night radio show Coast to Coast and also the author of a book entitled The Monuments of Mars. Other readers can find out something about Mr. Hoagland by perusing his extensive website The Enterprise Mission. As for me, the author of this page, the reader can look here-- Ralph Greenberg's Home Page.

My article contains serious criticism of Mr. Hoagland. It is my opinion that he misleads people terribly and that he does so knowingly. The issue of Europa which is discussed below is just one example. My criticism has received considerable attention on the internet. Judging from the responses that I've received, many people agree with my criticism. Some don't.

I originally wrote a much shorter version of this article when I created my webpage late in 1998, intending it as background for a fax that I had sent to Art Bell and an explanation of the basis of my criticism. I have made various revisions and additions from time to time over the intervening years. As a result, my article is now extremely long. It will certainly try the endurance of its readers. There is a lot of information that I've gathered together here which is not available anywhere else on the internet, and I am reluctant to leave any of it out.

The page referred to in the title below is: EUROPA. The main article included on that page is An Ocean on Europa?, a historical account of the ideas that Europa might have an ocean of liquid water and that life might be found there. I have left the title -"The Origin of this Page" - unchanged, although it is no longer completely appropiate. I have also constructed a page of links to other related articles on the internet and on my website and to a few letters that I have written to Hoagland, as well as an e-mail exchange with Michael Bara, Hoagland's longtime assistant.


(Revised October 9th, 2002)


      It might seem rather strange to find an article about one of Jupiter's moons on a mathematician's homepage. In the Spring of 1997 I spent dozens of hours in the Astronomy-Physics Library on campus and in the Seattle Public Library digging up all the information that I could find about the origin of the ideas that Europa might have an ocean and that life might evolve in such an environment.  I started creating this homepage in the Fall of 1998 and decided then to turn the information that I had gathered into something that I hoped would be useful.  My own research interests as a mathematician have no relationship with Europa, or even with astronomy. It would seem much more natural for an astronomer or planetary geologist to write such an article, and the result would have undoubtedly been better, but it seemed unlikely that that would happen. There have been numerous articles about Europa in recent years explaining why scientists believe there might be an ocean on that far-away body and discussing the possibility of Europan life,  but those articles say very little about the history of those ideas. Just once did I find it mentioned that the idea of an ocean on Europa was first proposed by John S. Lewis. Occasionally, I found statements that the debate about the existence of such an ocean goes back decades. But no details!  I had the impression that even scientists working in the field know little about the history.  For this reason alone, writing the article seemed like a worthwhile effort on my part.

       The reason that I first started digging into that history is a story in itself, and a rather unpleasant one.  It was really a kind of protest against what I perceived as extreme hypocrisy on the part of certain individuals. That hypocrisy continues and so I find it necessary to give a documented account of the incidents that originally spurred my efforts and that have led me to persist in my protest. Here is one example of my persistence.

        It was during the summer of 1996 that I first listened to the late-night radio show Coast-To-Coast, hosted by Art Bell. I was intrigued by the show, but also quite bothered by certain aspects of it. I saw a great potential in a show like Coast-To-Coast and will say more about that on another page: Reflections on the Art Bell Show.   I had never heard of Richard Hoagland before listening to that show. The first topic that I heard him discuss was his theory that ancient, artificial structures exist on the moon. The first time that I heard Hoagland discuss Europa was one night in July, 1996.  As I recall, I had only recently learned of the theory that Europa might have a liquid water ocean and that life might exist in such an ocean. The Galileo spacecraft had just recently started to send back photographs from the Jupiter system, which generated a lot of excitement and discussion in the media.

       That night, Richard Hoagland mentioned his article The Europa Enigma which he wrote for the January, 1980 issue of Star & Sky Magazine. Hoagland also made an accusation that a scientist named Steven Squyres and NASA were trying to steal credit from him.  Hoagland's assertion was that NASA might have discovered that life really does exist on Europa and wanted to make sure that they would get credit rather than him. This assertion was based on a news report about a lecture that Squyres had given in England.  At the same time, Hoagland posted a press release  on the Enterprise Mission website making the same accusation against Squyres.  It was also the subject of an interview by Michael Corbin.  My reaction was that it was extremely irresponsible for someone to make such an accusation on a nation-wide radio show based merely on a news report.  As I learned only recently, neither Hoagland nor any of his associates even bothered to contact the author of the news report to determine whether the accusation was accurate. They also did not bother to contact Squyres himself. In fact, the accusation turned out to be entirely unjustified. I also did not realize the hypocrisy implicit in Hoagland's accusation against Squyres at that time. That only became apparent to me some six or seven months later.

          Europa was in the news rather frequently during 1996-97.  During Hoagland's rather frequent guest appearances, Art Bell would often mention some recent news item about Europa and either he or Hoagland would bring up the subject of Hoagland's 1980 article, always giving the impression that it was he who first proposed both the idea that Europa might have an ocean of liquid water and the idea that life might develop in that environment.  Art Bell would then usually add some sarcastic comments about the scientific community not giving Hoagland his due credit. I also recall hearing callers to Art Bell's Show mention that Hoagland had been far in advance of the scientific community in proposing the possibility of an ocean on Europa and therefore his current ideas should be taken seriously. That happened just two or three times, but I gradually became aware during the following two years that it was rather widely believed that Hoagland really was the first to propose that important idea.

        Early in 1997, I came across an article in Science News which mentioned that the idea of an ocean under the ice of Europa was first proposed by John S. Lewis in 1971.  This was inconsistent with the impression that Richard Hoagland's statements gave. It was my first clue that the version of history we were hearing on the Art Bell Show might not be right.  But it was not just Hoagland who contributed to this.  In April of 1997,  an article by Terence Dickinson appeared in the Toronto Star. After it appeared, Hoagland was a guest on Coast-To-Coast and Art Bell read Dickinson's article in its entirety just as he was introducing Hoagland that night. Here is the article (Original EuropaThesis Just Too Alien):

The Sunday Star - Toronto
April 13, 1997
Context Section, page F8

       At a news conference Wednesday, NASA scientists presented the latest images from the Galileo spacecraft that is in orbit around Jupiter. The photos,  showing yawning cracks and blocks of ice the size of house on Jupiter's moon, Europa, offer the most compelling evidence yet that there is an ocean of water, possibly harboring life, beneath the frozen surface of this world, which is roughly the size of the Earth's moon.

       It's a strange story, but 18 years ago I was there when the first person on Earth realised what Europa is really like. It was July 10, 1979, just hours after the American space probe Voyager 2 had cruised near Jupiter and its family of 16 moons. I was standing beside science writer Richard Hoagland at Voyager mission control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, gazing intently at one of the television monitors displaying  Voyager 2 images of Europa.

       Nobody had ever seen anything like Europa before, Instead of the usual cratered landscape, Europa's surface is smooth, like a billiard ball. The highest resolution images did reveal some detail - low ridges and linear features covering the surface in apparently random patterns - but at first glance it was baffling. Then Hoagland said, almost in a whisper, "Its a crust of ice. And there's water below it."

       He stood there, thinking about what he had just said, then asked me if I would be interested in an article on the idea. At the time, I was editor of 'Star & Sky', an American popular-level astronomy magazine that has long since ceased publication. I readily accepted.

       Later, as he was working on the article, Hoagland phoned me from his home in Oakland, California, to tell me, with growing enthusiasm, about how all the pieces fit. Europa, he said, had a rocky core that was heated by gravitational tugging from Jupiter's three other large moons. As those moons swung close to Europa, then retreated, the varying gravitational forces squeezed and relaxed the rocky core, heating it in the process.

       This, he said, would melt the icy crust that apparently cloaks the Jovian moon. Only the outer surface, which is exposed to the intense cold of space, remains frozen. The ocean below could easily contain more water than is in Earth's oceans. And like in Earth's oceans, he went on, life could exist near volcanic vents.

       Hoagland's ideas about Europa appeared as the cover story in the January, 1980, issue of 'Star & Sky'. Given the potential importance of the concept, I issued a news release to coincide with the issue's publication. It was picked up by all the major news services and the story ran in hundreds of newspapers. It appeared in 'The Toronto Star' on December. 27, 1979, under the headline 'By Jupiter! Maybe there is alien life in space'.

       Then, instead of Hoagland's ideas appearing in textbooks, NASA brochures and other publications about the solar system, they were ignored. Today, Hoagland almost never receives credit for his Europa work. Why? He was never part of establishment science and he has moved much further from it than he was back in 1979. Today, he champions the idea that aliens built a rock formation called the 'face' on Mars. Few scientists want to be even remotely associated with a "kook", no matter how brilliant his ideas.

The idea that gravitational tugging might produce enough heat to maintain a liquid water ocean on Europa was a marvelous insight. Dickinson seems to have the impression that that was Hoagland's idea. Anyone reading Dickinson's account would have exactly the same impression. But it was not Hoagland's idea at all. It comes straight out of the paper Is There Liquid Water on Europa? by Cassen, Peale, and Reynolds written in June, 1979. When Art Bell read Dickinson's article on the show,  Hoagland chose to say absolutely nothing to correct the erroneous impression which that article conveyed.

          It should be pointed out that Dickinson states the theory of Cassen, Peale, and Reynolds incorrectly. It is much more accurately stated in The Europa Enigma, and so perhaps Hoagland learned the theory better when he was writing it. The gravitational forces of the other moons preserve the eccentricity of Europa's orbit. That eccentricity causes the variation in Jupiter's gravitational force on Europa, resulting in a significant tidal effect on the crust, which, if it is thin, would be somewhat flexible. The flexing of the icy crust would then create frictional heat which, according to the calculations of Cassen, Peale, and Reynolds, may be sufficient to maintain a liquid ocean underneath the crust.

         Dickinson's quote from Hoagland - "It's a crust of ice. And there is water below it." - is quite puzzling. He precedes this quote by writing that Hoagland was the first to realize what Europa was really like. Did this thought really just occur to Hoagland at that instant, independently of any discussions of the same idea by others? Or was Hoagland just telling Dickinson about the current speculations among scientists at JPL at the time, and his meaning was simply misunderstood? Or did Hoagland's pretense over this issue actually begin at that instant? Or is Dickinson distinguishing between scientific theorizing about the possibility of an ocean under the crust of ice or actually knowing. It is hard to reconcile this incident reported by Dickinson with Squyres' account of events around JPL which I will mention below.

         Just to be completely clear about this, I do not believe that Dickinson's intention was to mislead anyone. It seems from reading his article that he truly believed that the ideas he refers to as Hoagland's are really due to Hoagland. In my opinion, this is the most disturbing aspect of Dickinson's article. If my interpretation is correct, then even the editor of Star & Sky was one of the many people who thought that Hoagland was the originator of the idea that an ocean might exist on Europa, and even the more specific idea that the same kind of tidal heating that causes volcanoes on Io might maintain an ocean on another moon of Jupiter. I will return to this point later.

          At about the same time that Dickinson's article appeared, the following statement was posted on the Enterprise Mission website as the Latest TEM Press Release on Europa.

                              RICHARD HOAGLAND

New York, April 14 -- A set of precise, published, scientific predictions made by Richard C. Hoagland, almost 20 years ago in Star & Sky Magazine, still electronically available on the World-Wide-Web, have now been strikingly confirmed by NASA's latest results from the on-going Galileo Mission to the planet Jupiter. Hoagland is founder and current Principal Investigator of The Enterprise Mission, an independent space research and policy group pursuing studies on the scientific and social implications of the successful confirmation of extraterrestrial life. Incoming images and data, gathered during a recent fly-by of the Jovian moon "Europa," appear this week to have confirmed not only Hoagland's 17-year-old detailed model of a liquid "satellite-wide ocean under the icefields of Europa" -- but also "now strongly indicate the presence of organic compounds lying on Europa's surface," in precise accordance with Hoagland's earlier discussions re the possibility of "the origin and subsequent evolution of life in this satellite-wide ocean." The latest Galileo findings, now strongly supporting Hoagland's pioneering analysis of previous NASA Voyager mission data from Jupiter in 1979, were released at an official NASA press briefing, held in Pasadena, CA., April 9.

The author of the above news release is not given, but if Hoagland did not write it himself, he must have approved it.  He may have truly believed that he was the first person to discuss the possibility that life might develop in an ocean on Europa.  However, concerning the existence of such an ocean, Hoagland was familiar with the work of Cassen, Peale, and Reynolds, which they published in 1979 in their article Is there liquid water on Europa? He discusses the ideas of those scientists in his 1980 article.  The model of a liquid, satellite-wide ocean under the icefields of Europa actually goes back much further, having been proposed by John S. Lewis in 1971, although Hoagland may have been unfamiliar with his work.  In The Europa Enigma, Hoagland adds nothing to that model beyond the picture suggested by Cassen, Peale, and Reynolds. Referring to such a model as "Hoagland's" is a deception.

        In April and May, 1997, I devoted quite a bit of time to tracking down some of the literature about the possibility of an ocean on Europa, and also about the possibility that life might develop in such an ocean, and wrote a six-page letter on this topic. Most of that letter was a summary of the history of those ideas, but it also criticized Hoagland because, even though he was not the originator of the idea that Europa might have an ocean of liquid water, he nevertheless was willing to mislead people about that.  My criticism was directed at Hoagland's behavior in recent years, and not at what he wrote in The Europa Enigma. Concerning that article, my letter stated that "an attentive reader will realize that the idea that a liquid water ocean under ice might exist on Europa was not a new one." I recall rereading those pages in Hoagland's article where he discusses that idea numerous times, trying to guess how most readers would interpret what is written there. I now believe that I misjudged that, as I will discuss below.

       I had some positive things to say about Hoagland's article in my letter. I wrote:

"It is impressively well-researched and very imaginative. It is exciting to read. Its enthusiasm is contagious. It is very unfortunate that Mr. Hoagland will probably never again make such a valuable contribution to the popularization of scientific ideas."

I suppressed any mention of the weaknesses that I perceived in the article. I felt that writing The Europa Enigma was one positive thing that Hoagland had done in his life. Even though I have very little respect for him as he is today, based on many specific things that he has done, I did not feel any need to criticize something positive that he had done 17 years earlier.

       At the end of my letter, I mentioned my attempt to challenge Hoagland on one of the basic premises of his professed beliefs about Mars - the so-called "Geometry of Cydonia" that Hoagland has written and lectured about, and frequently referred to on the Art Bell Show.

        As I was working on that letter, I contacted Art Bell by e-mail, telling him briefly about what I had uncovered concerning the history of ideas about Europa, and that I would soon send him a letter about it. I asked him if he would be willing to do something to correct the distorted version of the history of those important ideas that had been presented on his show, and expressing my unhappiness over the situation. His response (terse as usual):

       We shall see. Life is full of unhappy moments.


        That letter was actually addressed to a journalist named Jay Ingram who had also, by coincidence, written an article about Hoagland and Europa for the Toronto Star: Europa and the Hoagland Eccentricity. In addition to sending that letter to Ingram (in early June, 1997), I sent copies to Terence Dickinson, Arthur C. Clarke (who sent me a very cordial response), various scientists and journalists, and, of course, Richard Hoagland and Art Bell.

         My letter seemed to have no effect. For the next six months, I made something of a pest of myself over this issue with the goal of just trying to get Art Bell or Richard Hoagland to make the necessary correction. Finally, on the afternoon of December 4th, 1997, knowing that Hoagland would be a guest that evening, I sent a fax to Art Bell summarizing the history of those ideas about Europa.  I have no doubt that Art Bell sent a copy of my fax to Richard Hoagland before the show.  And instead of some tactful clarification of the issue, Hoagland chose to make another quite misleading statement, with Art Bell providing him the opportunity:

 ART BELL: Richard, you are I believe originally noted for your investigation into the monuments of Mars, and then, following that, 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 1980, 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  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 Galileo Mission, in orbit around Jupiter, some 17 years after that set of predictions, it turns out that probably we are correct.

       I prepared other faxes and sent them to Art Bell. Here is one that I sent on December 15th, 1997: Fax to Art Bell.  It is essentially a brief summary of what is contained in my letter written six months earlier. After that, I continued to remind Bell of this still unresolved issue by e-mail and by fax. The only thing that happened was that Art Bell and Richard Hoagland never again mentioned his claim that he was the originator of those ideas about Europa. At least, I never heard it mentioned myself. Perhaps my messages and faxes were responsible for that.

        On Hoagland's website, one finds the following statement on the page introducing The Europa Enigma. It has been there for a long time:

Shortly after the first NASA unmanned Voyager mission to Jupiter, in March, 1979, Richard C. Hoagland published in Star & Sky magazine a radical new theory--regarding implications stemming from Voyager's historic fly-by and data return from one of the "Galilean moons":


Hoagland proposed that a planet-wide ocean still exists under the tens-of-miles-thick sulphur-tinged ice now completely covering Europa.  Further, that in that extremely ancient ocean -- the only other planetary "near-by" liquid water that may have persisted from the beginnings of the solar system (other than on Earth)--

Life may have once originated ... an alien type of life that -- because of the present uniqueness of Europa in the entire solar system --currently might still exist ...

At the time, Hoagland's theory encountered overwhelming opposition from almost everyone at NASA, official and/or scientist ... except for two significant exceptions:  inventor of the communications satellite, famed science and science fiction writer ("2001: A Space Odyssey"),  Arthur C. Clark; and, Dr. Robert Jastrow -- one of the founders of NASA, and former Director of its Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Based on Hoagland's startling theory, Clark two years later would create a sequel to his most famous work ("2010: Odyssey Two" -- after long claiming that such a follow-on was "impossible"). This would then be followed by a movie sequel (co-written and directed by Peter Hyams) of the same name.

In the acknowledgments to "2010," Clark would write:

"The fascinating idea that there might be life on Europa, beneath ice-covered oceans kept liquid by the same Jovian tidal forces that heat Io, was first proposed by Richard C. Hoagland in the magazine Star & Sky ( The Europa Enigma,' January, 1980). This quite brilliant concept has been taken seriously by a number of astronomers (notably NASA's Institute of Space Studies, Dr. Robert Jastrow), and may provide one of the best motives for the projected GALILEO Mission..."

           The reader should look at that page carefully, and in its entirety. It is likely that most visitors to that page would know nothing about the history of ideas concerning Europa. I believe that any such visitor would come away with the false impression that the idea of a liquid water ocean on Europa originated with Hoagland. The page seems deliberately designed to give that impression. However, I suspect that whoever created that page was not trying to be deceptive, but simply believed that Hoagland really was the first to propose that idea.

           On the page, alongside the above quote summarizing Hoagland's "radical new theory", one finds an illustration of a cut-away view of Europa showing such an ocean under a crust of ice. (It is inaccurately labeled and is actually rather amusing.)

           The page starts out with a quote from NASA's Administrator Dan Goldin (from 1995).

"If we could discover an ocean on Europa...unbelievable!"

Later we read more about the current opinions of NASA scientists:

"And, in an astonishing reversal of their previous opinions, NASA's entire Galileo team (if not all of NASA itself) is now on record as "eagerly awaiting confirmation of the existence of Europa's planet-wide, ice-covered ocean via GALILEO information" -- if not what may lurk below ..."

           The "astonishing reversal of their previous opinions" is clearly a reference to the "overwhelming opposition from almost everyone at NASA, official and/or scientist" encountered by "Hoagland's theory." Again, the implication seems quite clear: It was Hoagland , and not NASA scientists, who proposed the possibility of an ocean on Europa back in 1979.

          In fact, two of the three authors of "Is there liquid water on Europa?" were NASA scientists working at the Ames Research Center - P.Cassen and R.Reynolds. At least concerning the possibility of an ocean on Europa, this "overwhelming opposition" would seem to be a fiction. One can document that this was considered a real possibility by NASA scientists at the time of the Voyager missions in 1979, offering it as one possible way to explain the nature of Europa`s surface. Some of this documentation will be discussed below in connection with the account given by Squyres concerning the opinions of NASA scientists at the time.

           Arthur C. Clarke's acknowledgement of Hoagland is quite generous, but is unfortunately written in a rather ambiguous way. Does Clarke mean that the idea of "ice-covered oceans kept liquid by the same Jovian tidal forces that heat Io" was actually Hoagland's? Appearing on that page introducing Hoagland's article, together with the other misleading statements there, readers would be very likely to give it that meaning. I suspect that Clarke really did have that meaning in mind, and did think that it was accurate. Otherwise, he would have surely realized the potential for confusion and expressed himself more clearly. It was because of that acknowledgement that I decided to send a copy of my letter of June, 1997 to Clarke. In his response, he made several comments about Hoagland, both positive and negative. Concerning The Europa Enigma, he wrote:

"I am also grateful to him 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."

           In a message to Michael Bara (dated May 1st, 2001), I make one more attempt to remedy the situation, asking for a drastic revision of the page introducing The Europa Enigma.

           Many people have believed in the myth that Hoagland was the first to propose the existence of an ocean on Europa. That myth seems to have originated many years ago. Hoagland has gained considerable undeserved credibility as a result. As I mentioned before, I recall hearing callers to Art Bell's Show state that Hoagland had been far in advance of the scientific community in proposing the possibility of an ocean on Europa and therefore his current ideas should be taken seriously. I recall seeing similar statements on the message boards on Bell's and Hoagland's websites (and also more recently in a few of the readers' reviews of The Monuments of Mars at

       Even an ABC News report By Jove, Water on Europa? (January, 1998) by Kenneth Chang clearly attributes the idea to Hoagland. After writing that Hoagland was the first to suggest the "idea of oceans on Europa and life within them," he states: "Meanwhile, the ocean half of Hoagland's Europa hypothesis has entered the mainstream of scientific debate." Here is the article scrolled from the original, now defunct, webpage: By Jove, Water on Europa?. I wrote to Chang in January, 2001 to ask him why he believed that Hoagland deserved such credit. He told me that he hadn't done any research into the history himself, but simply repeated what he was told by many people, even some scientists.

(NOTE: The original link was: This link was good at least until 2003, when it strangely appeared on the Enterprise Mission website under the headline: ABC News Cites Hoagland for Europa Discoveries ... Again. See the April 15th listing in the archives for that year on the Enterprise mission website. There was no mention of the fact that the article was five years old at that time. )

       Late in 1998, I came across Charles Tritt's website Possibility of Life on Europa and again found the statement that Hoagland was the first to suggest that Europa might have an ocean. It was accompanied by a link to the page mentioned above introducing Hoagland's 1980 article, but giving a date of March, 1979, as the quote given above seems to indicate. After I contacted him, Tritt changed the statement and now writes that John S. Lewis may have been the first to suggest the possibility of such an ocean, giving a reference to his 1971 paper in Icarus.

       Sometime in 1999, I came across Scott De Laruelle's website Life on Europa? which contains the following statement in the section called "EUROPA: Key Dates": "July 10, 1979 - Science writer Richard C. Hoagland first proposes theory that Europa's surface is a massive ice-covered ocean." Later, on the same page one finds a long quote from Dickinson's Toronto Star article, which would seem to be the source of this information. On an accompanying page EUROPA: Discovery, Hypotheses, and Exploration, one finds the illustration portraying a Europan ice-covered ocean taken from Hoagland's website (from the page introducing The Europa Enigma discussed above). The illustration is identified as: "Hoagland's Proposed Model of Europa." I also contacted the author of that website, but he never made the appropiate changes. [Those webpages are now defunct, probably removed sometime in late 2001.]

      One has to ask the question of whether Hoagland was simply oblivious to this seemingly widespead misunderstanding. I cannot believe that was the case. As I mentioned above, I first raised this issue in June, 1997 and continued to complain about it. Also, it is impossible for me to imagine that a complimentary reference to him in the major press - the above mentioned ABC News report- would not have been brought to his attention.

       One rather disturbing case came to my attention in April, 1998  when I contacted Lars-Jonas Angstrom to inquire about why Hoagland was given the Angstrom Medal for Excellence in Science.  One of the two reasons that Angstrom gave was Hoagland's "old hypothesis of water existing on Europa." I could not help but wonder if Hoagland was aware that this was one of the reasons why Angstrom gave him that Medal.  Here is an excerpt from Angstrom's reply to my inquiry:

       "The Angstrom Foundation was founded in order to preserve the premises of my ancestors in the little town of Ange some 450 km north of Stockholm and to make it available as a mini-conference center to researchers and scientists within various fields of science. Of course, the idea was also to preserve the memory of my family and to show that true science can originate also from a financially poor background. The Foundation is registered to support the fields of natural science, economy and education, and to act as publishers of literature of interest. As the Foundation lacks any large financial funds, the idea was born to use our medal and award it as an act of encouragment for spearhead theories and hypotheses in order to encourage (young) scientists in their work of research. The idea was to have different levels from high-school and up. No definite achievements or breakthroughs should be required - only a genuine interest and work in order to try various ways to find the true track in the very complicated world that we live in, now that man has been able to leave Earth. We think that encouragement at an early stage of  research might be very important. As for Hoagland, he was not awarded the medal for his investigations in connection with Cydonia, but rather for his hypothesis of the possibility of different laws of physics in our Solar System once being outside the very special conditions that prevail on Earth. For example, the physics in rotating gas masses and the energy involved. Also, his old hypothesis of water existing on Europa was of interest.

       As for the medal itself, it was originally struck by the Royal Mint for the Royal Society of Science in memory of my great grandfather Anders Jonas Angstrom (1874). The medal has been awarded some 65 times and seems to be highly appreciated. It has mostly been awarded in connection with achievements related to spectral analysis."

In another message that I received from him, Mr. Angstrom writes:

"I do understand how you and a lot of other thinking people feel about the whole matter and I am sorry that instead of doing something good, I have unknowingly contributed to the opposite. I feel that it is nothing wrong with having new and sometimes far-fetched ideas - but you got to be humble about it. If we had not had people going ahead with impossible ideas, we would not have had trains, aircrafts, microscopes, pasteurization, ultrasonic sound generators, or rockets to the moon and elsewhere. Contrary thinking is okay - but be humble about it. "

Most of the Angstrom Medals have been awarded to scientists at Upssala University chosen by the science faculty of that university.  The reader can find more details about the Angstrom Foundation and the history of the awarding of the Angstrom Medal as a prize here. One also finds on that site some communications from Mr. Angstrom to its author which give some insight into his present opinion about Hoagland and also the unfortunate consequences of his decision to award an Angstrom Medal to him. My correspondence with Mr. Angstrom continued for a considerable time, but mostly concerned topics quite unrelated to the Angstrom Foundation and to Hoagland.

          As far as I know, Richard Hoagland has never responded to the substance of my criticism over this issue. He has not even corrected or modified the misleading statement which is quoted above, taken from his website. It still is there introducing his article The Europa Enigma.  However, in May, 1998, I succeeded in putting some heat on Hoagland by challenging him to a debate concerning several issues. In my letter to Hoagland (which I also sent to Art Bell and some of his regular guests), I wrote concerning the Europa issue:

You have often stated that you were the first person to propose the ideas that Europa might have an ocean under a crust of ice and that life might evolve in such an environment. My contention is that the actual history of those ideas does not support your claim of priority.

To my surprise, and without telling me in advance, Art Bell confronted him with my challenge on the air. That occurred on May 26th, two weeks after I sent that letter. (I faxed Art a copy of that letter again on that day, knowing that Hoagland was scheduled to be a guest that night.) The primary issue was Hoagland's claim that certain numerical relationships provide strong evidence that various objects in the Cydonia region of Mars are artificial. My stated contention was that "virtually all of this evidence is fallacious and should be discarded." Hoagland refused to debate me and was extremely insulting when he talked about me. He did allude to Europa, and said that Terence Dickinson and Arthur C. Clarke gave him credit for the idea, and that my challenge on that issue was political. That was all.

        Later that year, in late September, 1998, Hoagland's assistant Michael Bara did allude to my criticism in his long posting Orwell and the Internet which appeared on the Enterprise Mission website. The reader should read what he writes, which is close to the end of the article. Especially at the very end, Bara brings shame to himself by juxtaposing comments about me and Squyres with quotes and a photo of Hitler and Goebbels.

        Earlier in Bara's posting, he does acknowledge that Hoagland was not the first to propose the existence of an ocean on Europa, writing:

Building from earlier work [13] Hoagland wove together an elegant pattern of fact and informed speculation to propose the mechanism by which Europa's "global" ocean (then just a much discounted idea among planetary scientists) could have harbored and nurtured life from the very dawn of the Solar System.

       The reference [13] is the 1979 paper of Cassen, Peale, and Reynolds Is there liquid water on Europa? I remember reading Bara's acknowledgement and thinking that finally my criticism has had some result. But I asked myself if this was enough. It was clear to me that this brief, and rather begrudging, statement, would not correct the wide-spread myth that existed. It seemed to me just a whisper in the corner that would have little impact. I felt that it was just an attempt to put the issue aside, and was not even close to being an adequate response.

        It was roughly around that same time that I started to create my homepage. I decided to write my article - "An Ocean on Europa? - History of an Idea" - which wasn't finished until February, 1999. After finishing that article and also an essay about the D &M Pyramid (much briefer than the present version), I started to bring my homepage to the attention of a number of people who I knew were either supporters or critics of Hoagland. Sometime after that, I happened to notice a posting on the website for the Jeff Rense Show which accused Hoagland of taking false credit for discovering the "Abydos Glyphs." (Someone had posted a link to it on the BBS on the website for Art Bell's Show.) I impulsively decided to send an e-mail message to Rense asking if he would consider providing a forum for my criticism of Hoagland concerning the Europa issue. I included a link to my historical article and also to the fax that I sent to Art Bell in 1997, which I had already put on my website. He wrote back saying that he would be glad to do that. And then, all of a sudden, my e-mail message along with the fax appeared as a posting on his website: Richard Hoagland Charged With More Plagiarism and Fraud. That was on March 5th, 1999. I added an addendum on March 6th after someone contacted me asking about the statement that Hoagland made which had prompted my fax.

       On March 6th, Richard Hoagland had a major heart attack. Art Bell informed his audience of Hoagland's condition on March 8th. Although the timing was remarkable, I felt that it was nothing but a coincidence. In any case, I did not pursue the issue for quite a while after that.

        Concerning Hoagland's accusation against Steven Squyres, one does find the following letters on the website, including a response from Squyres: Page 1, Page 2, Page 3.   Squyres states simply and convincingly that in his lecture and in the news interviews that he gave, he did not claim personal credit for ideas about life on Europa. In July, 2000, I contacted Nick Flowers, who wrote the news report on which Hoagland's accusation against Squyres is based, and gave him the link to the press release  on the Enterprise Mission website.   In his e-mail response, Dr. Flowers, who is a scientist himself, wrote:

"I was well aware of the potential sub-surface ocean idea when I interviewed Steven in 96. I'd read Clarke's work and seen numerous articles with the idea in, if he had claimed credit I would have realised that was incorrect - but he didn't.

I reread the article as posted on that site...he [Squyres] merely supports/ advertises the idea, sticking his own neck out for it and raising the potential of hydrothermal vent supported life. Hoagland has no reason to be annoyed over it...and I have no recollection of him contacting me. I'm away from my main email store - which would confirm this."

This wasn't clear enough to me, and so I wrote back asking specifically about the following statement in his article: "He speculates that biological activity may instead be powered by geothermal heat at the centre of the planet - much like thermophillic, heat-loving bacteria and isolated biological communities recently discovered near submarine volcanoes on Earth." Flowers responded as follows:

"I can speculate too, but it doesn't mean I claim to be the first to do so, and Steven did not do so with me. I've dealt with him a few times, in the capacity of a journalist, and he has always thought carefully about what he has said and caveated it appropriately - something I respect and appreciate seeing as I have been interviewed many times about many topics."

In response to my question as to whether Squyres gave the impression that that speculation was his own, original idea, Flowers wrote:

"I cannot of course remember everything he said, but the article does not claim he said this, and I would have known that to be false - I would recall that."

It was also clear from his message that he had been completely unaware of how his article had been used by Hoagland. I wrote back to him, telling him that the accusation against Squyres was also made on the extremely popular late-night radio show hosted by Art Bell and that the show is nation-wide and has probably millions of listeners. I expressed surprise that no one at all had contacted him back in 1996. In response, he confirmed this, writing:

"I have scanned my email archive (it would have such an interesting interaction still in it). The string "Hoagland" does not feature save for our recent emails, and "Squyres" pops up only in Press Releases and my emails to/from him. I have not been contacted by these irritating people."

           In his letter, Squyres states that discussions of the possibility of an ocean under the icy crust of Europa took place immediately when the images from Voyager 2 first started to come in. He also states that Hoagland was present at the time and overheard these discussions. His account seems credible. As described in my article An Ocean on Europa?, a number of papers suggesting that possibility had appeared in the scientific literature since 1971. The theory was certainly familiar to NASA scientists. The paper by Cassen, Peale, and Reynolds Is there liquid water on Europa? concerning the effect of tidal heating was written just a month before, at the end of June, 1979. (The published article appeared in a journal in September of that year.) Those scientists had already achieved notoriety at NASA several months earlier for their dramatic prediction of substantial volcanism on Io just days before Voyager 1 sent back photos of that moon. Their prediction was confirmed within weeks. They did not have the same level of confidence for their ideas concerning Europa as they did for their prediction about Io, but nevertheless those ideas must have been the subject of discussions even before Voyager 2 arrived at Europa.

           The Voyager scientists who examined the photos of Europa later published a summary of their findings (in Science , November, 1979) where they discuss the theories and evidence concerning a Europan ocean in some detail. The discussion is rather inconclusive, but nevertheless the idea is taken seriously.

           A National Geographic article (January, 1980) about the Voyager mission gives some idea about what scientists were thinking at the time. Here are some quotes:

"Europa, however, was Voyager 2's star. The scientists were predicting that water-rich Europa could be heated by the same kind of tugging as Io - albeit much less so. 'We were hoping to see Old Faithful going off,' said geologist Hal Masursky. Voyager 2 saw no geysers - but its resolution was only good enough to detect mammoth ones."

"An Io-like tidal heating may indeed be keeping the crust of Europa plastic and the ocean beneath either liquid or soft ice. But no one can do more than guess at what mechanisms Europa uses to erase its craters."

           Concerning the general view of NASA scientists towards the possibility of life on Europa, I have no documentation one way or the other, but I suspect that most would have thought it somewhat premature to speculate seriously about that possibility. In his letter, Squyres states that such discussions also took place when the Voyager 2 images started to come in. At least one scientist did offer such speculations publicly, namely Benton Clark who does have a close connection to NASA and made the topic part of his lecture at a large conference at NASA's Ames Research Center - LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE. Also, Gerald Feinberg and Robert Shapiro, both very noted scientists, discussed the possibility of life in oceans on Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa in their book LIFE BEYOND EARTH. (See Message 4 to Michael Bara.)

           As for Hoagland overhearing conversations, only he himself could say what he learned from the discussions around JPL.

           Most of the above account was posted on this website by August, 2000. In mid-September, a news report about recent discoveries concerning Europa prompted Michael Bara and Richard Hoagland to post the following article on the Enterprise Mission website: Europa Reveals More of Her Secrets - Hoagland Confirmed Again. As the reader will see, the work of Cassen, Peale, and Reynolds is now referred to in this posting (with the mistaken date of 1977). Hoagland now seems to be sharing credit for the idea of an ocean on Europa with those scientists. Ideas of Duncan Lunan (and his associates at ASTRA), of Benton Clark, and of Gerald Feinberg and Robert Shapiro concerning life in such an ocean are still not referred to at all. The posting complains that there is an attempt to deny Richard Hoagland appropiate credit for his ideas about Europa. There is no reference to misleading statements that Hoagland has made in the past or to the fact that many people have believed that Hoagland was the first person to suggest the possibility that Europa might have a liquid water ocean.

           But there is a response to the accusation (by me) that Hoagland did misrepresent the history of ideas about Europa. Hoagland and Bara respond to such a charge by mentioning the fact that Hoagland does cite the ideas of Cassen, Peale, and Reynolds in his 1980 article The Europa Enigma. (For the convenience of the reader, here are the pages in The Europa Enigma where Hoagland discusses the ideas of those scientists concerning Io and Europa: Page 26, Page 28, Page 29. Those ideas are contained in two papers published in 1979: Meltings of Io by Tidal Dissipation and Is There Liquid Water on Europa?.)

           I do not feel that this is an adequate response to my accusation. First of all, my criticism of Hoagland over this issue has been solely based on his behavior long after that article was written. No matter how clearly he may have attributed certain ideas to others in his 1980 article, that does not give him a license to make misleading statements elsewhere and at other times.

       Secondly, I question whether the citations on those pages in The Europa Enigma are actually clear enough. When I first read the article back in 1997, I did feel that Hoagland was sufficiently clear in making attributions of certain ideas to Cassen, Peale and Reynolds. It seemed to me that an attentive reader would pick that up. However, my opinion about this has changed since then. I was not a typical reader since I already knew something about the history of ideas concerning Europa. Most readers would know nothing about that history. I suspect that such readers, perusing the article after reading the very misleading introductory page, would think that the idea that Europa might have a liquid water ocean is an original idea of Hoagland. As I've already discussed, numerous readers did get the wrong impression about the origin of that idea. Above all, the example of Terence Dickinson stands out. One would certainly assume that he read Hoagland's article attentively. It is possible, as I suggested earlier, that Arthur C. Clarke also had the wrong impression.

       Thirdly, the excuse that Hoagland cites Cassen, Peale and Reynolds in his 1980 article strikes me as rather hypocritical. Hoagland accused Steven Squyres of trying to steal credit from him for ideas about Europa back in 1996. This accusation was revived in a more recent posting on the Enterprise Mission website: NASA Slams the Door on Scientific Democracy where Hoagland and Bara refer to Squyres as "best known to Enterprise readers for plagiarizing Hoagland's work on Europa a few years ago." But both of them are fully aware of the fact that the paper On the Habitability of Europa by Steven Squyres (and three other scientists), published in 1983, also specifically cites Hoagland's 1980 article (as well as Clarke's novel "2010: Odyssey Two") for speculations concerning the possibility that life might evolve in an ocean on Europa.

       The citation to Hoagland in On the Habitability of Europa doesn't say much. Bara has alluded to it in a number of postings on the Enterprise Mission website (e.g. Scientists "Discover" Source of Europa's Dark Cracks -- 20 years After Hoagland), but has never actually quoted it. It states:

"It is, of course, not possible to make definite predictions as to whether life actually exists, has existed, or in fact could exist on Europa from the calculations presented here, although such scenarios have been conjectured (e.g., Hoagland, 1980; Clarke, 1982)."

That posting Scientists "Discover" Source of Europa's Dark Cracks -- 20 years After Hoagland (also authored by Hoagland??) is misleading in itself concerning one important point - the fracturing of the surface and the mechanism which could bring material from the ocean below onto the surface. The Europa Enigma is also very misleading about this point. Readers will get the false impression that it was an original idea of Hoagland that tidal forces on Europa's crust would lead to fracturing the surface, and evaporation of the water from below, which would then precipitate onto the surface around the cracks. However, that idea is not due to Hoagland. It is stated precisely in that form as one of the conclusions in the paper Is there liquid water on Europa? That paper backs up that conclusion with a mathematical analysis based on the predicted thickness of the icy crust, the magnitude of the stress exerted by Jupiter's gravitational force, and the tensile strength of ice at the known surface temperature. It is unfortunate that Hoagland did not properly attribute that idea to those scientists. As far as the idea that the dark stains around the cracks might be due to organic material coming up from below, along with the water, how can one know if that idea is really original? In any case, it is just an unsubstantiated remark. Brad Dalton, the scientist mentioned in the posting linked above, did not see a good reason to make an attribution to Hoagland about that, and I agree with his decision. It is rare in scientific papers to give attributions to remarks that people make unless those remarks are backed up by some substantial evidence, which could be theoretical, experimental, or observational. Hoagland's remark, original or not, does not justify any attribution in my opinion. Let me add that the actual mechanism that would be responsible for the reddish-brown coloration of a large portion of Europa's surface would be somewhat different. This coloration is in a region where scientists believe that the crust has frequently melted through to the underlying ocean, creating large lakes of exposed water which would then result in the kind of massive eruption that Dalton refers to.

       This whole affair is rather sad in a way. Hoagland was indeed one of the first people to speculate about the possibility that life might evolve on Europa. He helped to bring ideas about Europa to the attention of the general public. His article inspired Arthur C. Clarke to make the idea of life on Europa a theme in his novel "2010: Odyssey 2". But instead of being content with those achievements, at some point Hoagland started to exaggerate the contribution that he made, and he has lost the respect of many people as a result. This includes people whose opinion Hoagland should value. In particular, Lars-Jonas Angstrom, who in 1993 decided to offer Richard Hoagland the Angstrom Medal for Excellence in Science, recently issued a statement about the Angstrom Foundation and the Angstrom Medal (The Angstrom Foundation AB). In that statement, he writes:

"The Angstrom Foundation AB wants to support and promote excellence in all of the natural sciences.

The Foundation is aware of the fact that through out history it has happened that researchers and scientists have "borrowed" other researchers and scientists ideas, theories, discoveries and contributions pretending it to be their own discoveries and claiming credit for themselves.

To do so knowingly -- without an immediate correction -- is far from showing excellence in science and is, in our opinion, nothing less than a disgrace. A person doing so is disgraceful and is also bringing disgrace to a field of science in which he/she definitely does not belong. The Angstrom Foundation AB would never knowingly promote such an action."

Although Mr. Angstrom doesn't refer to Hoagland by name, I believe that it is clear who he is thinking of in that strongly-worded statement. After Mr. Angstrom informed me in 1998 that Hoagland's "old hypothesis of water existing on Europa" was a factor in his decision to give Hoagland the Angstrom Medal, I replied by informing Mr. Angstrom that that hypothesis was not due to Hoagland, and was, in fact, the subject of a number of scientific papers throughout the 1970s and offered to send him more details. He responded quickly, giving me his postal address, and so I then sent him a copy of my letter (from June, 1997) summarizing the history of the idea as well as a report on my "Telephone Number Experiment" which I thought might interest him too. His next message to me began as follows:

Dear Mr Greenberg,

Thank you for the very interesting material you sent me by mail. I like the way you give Hoagland credit for his work while you on the other hand criticize him (with all rights) for what you believe he is doing wrong. I wish you could have a debate with him. I do not think that it is right to claim that you are first with a theory (not that it matters if you are first, second or third as long as your theory is of interest and contributes something) when history shows something else, neither do I think it is right to refuse or ignore a debate in case you will be debating the same thing. I also agree with you that it hardly can be called science to build such far reaching theories on such unreliable grounds as those you describe.

Mr. Angstrom is also referring to something that I had mentioned in one of my initial e-mail messages to him - my intention to challenge Hoagland to a debate. In some of his later messages, he continued to inquire about the possibility of such a debate taking place, and of course I informed him about my futile attempts to get that to happen. This is also alluded to in his statement about the Angstrom Foundation (linked above).

       Unfortunately, the issue remains unresolved. It would have been so much better for everyone involved if Hoagland had been willing to be more forthright and fair after receiving my letter in June, 1997. It really is a question of fairness and Hoagland seems to be painting himself into a corner on the issue. The conflict has come up again because of an article that appeared in November, 2000 in The Skeptical Inquirer and an ill-considered rebuttal to that article by Hoagland's assistant Michael Bara. I decided to send a long response directly to Mr. Bara. Included in that response is a more detailed account of what led me to dig into the Europa history before June, 1997 and what happened afterwards. It is posted on the following page together with any responses which I receive from Mr. Bara: Continuation. The reader will also find links to future messages which will be posted.

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