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Photo: Courtesy of Mark Kimble

Author Ben Bova is a six-time winner of the Hugo Award.

Ben Bova's imagination must work overtime, not just to dream up the characters, locales, and stories that have made him a best-selling science fiction author since 1959, but also to keep up with the latest leaps in real-world science that seem more like science fiction every day.

His newest novel is Leviathans of Jupiter, the latest in his Grand Tour series, and it follows the adventures of a crew on the first expedition to penetrate the pole-to-pole cloud cover of our solar system's most mysterious planet. Their mission is to find out if life exists there -- and, if it is intelligent life, to make contact -- all while dealing with the harshest environmental obstacles mankind has ever faced.

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Bova's newest book, released February 2011

In the interview, Dr. Bova discusses why Jupiter and its moons may hold the best chance for discovering extraterrestrial life, and how human ingenuity could conceivably overcome the most difficult of problems--from making the perilous 365,000,000 mile trip, to exploring the forbidding environment of a gas giant, to figuring out a way to make contact with alien lifeforms like the Leviathans, bizarre colony creatures who are as large as mountains.

Listen to a special extended version of the interview that aired on Arizona Spotlight:

Download as MP3