The book began with Doctor Heywood Floyd preparing a journey to Halleys comet. He traveled on the spaceship Universe along with some scientists, tourists, and a crew. The ship landed, performed some experiments, collected some samples, and allowed the passengers to walk on the comet. In a subplot of the book, the Galaxy, sister ship to the Universe, was exploring the Jovian satellites. The Galaxy crashed on Europa, the forbidden moon of Jupiter. Among Galaxys crew was Chris Floyd, Heywoods grandson, whom along with the rest of the crew, were to be rescued by the Universe.
The only site of importance on Europa was Mount Zeus, which some of the Galaxy crew decided to explore. The explorers traveled to Mount Zeus on a small spacecraft known as the Bill Tee. After exiting the craft, van der Berg contacted Ganymede and asked them to relay the following message to Earth, Lucy Is Here. Lucy Is Here. Lucy is a code word, interpreted by Earth as the presence of diamonds. Mount Zeus is described by van der Berg as a single diamond, approximate mass one million, million tonsabout two times ten to the seventeenth carats.
This is a massive diamond, much larger than any diamond found on Earth. Bill Tees crew performed tests and collected some samples of the diamond mountain. On the way back to the Galaxy, the Bill Tee was low on fuel after an unexpected stop at what seemed to be a village. The Bill Tee had to land away from the Galaxy, now making the rescue mission a two-step process. When the Universe arrived, it picked up the crew from the Bill Tee and Galaxy. It then sped off to Ganymede, ending the story.
The discovery that Mount Zeus was a diamond led to some hypothesizing. Professor Paul Kreuger, speaking about the mass of Jupiters diamond core, says, This is ten billion times that of Mount Zeus. Most of this diamond core was probably destroyed in the detonation of Jupiter and the formation of Lucifer, a miniature sun. The undestroyed pieces were shot into orbit, or in the case of Mount Zeus, shot into a surrounding satellite. If these diamonds were to be collected there would be a global, or even universal effect.
Diamond prices would collapse completely due to a huge over-supply. Not only would many diamond-selling businesses go bankrupt, but there would also be an endless array of political and economic ramifications. Although this is a great risk, the rewards may be even greater. Its availability in megaton quantities could totally transform many industries and create wholly new ones, Kreuger stated, referring to the Jovian diamonds. These diamonds could be the key to revolutionizing exploration.
The diamond mountains now orbiting among the satellites of Jupiter may open up the entire Solar System; how trivial, by comparison, appear all the ancient uses of the quartic-crystallized form of carbon! The collection of the diamonds would hamper political and economic stability. However, it would also lead us to a greater knowledge of our surroundings. This leads me to a final question. What should a society value more: exploration and acquiring of knowledge or complete political and economic stability?