Water Vapor Potentially Spotted on Europa

9/30/2016

On Monday, NASA held a press teleconference with four people to announce the second possible detection of water on Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope (HST). Britney Schmidt, assistant professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences was one of the panelists, acting as an outside expert. She played no role in the discovery.

Schmidt is one of Europa’s leading experts. Many think the moon is the best chance to find other life in the solar system, primarily because of its subsurface ocean.

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Bio

Dr. Britney Schmidt, Assistant Professor, received a BS in Physics from University of Arizona and PhD in Geophysics and Space physics from UCLA. Her area of expertise is planetary ices and the early solar system. She is keenly interested in the habitability of icy worlds to search for life beyond Earth. A veteran of Antarctic fieldwork, she studies Earth’s ice shelves and glaciers to capture the impacts of changing climate and explore analogs for Europa. Britney played a central role in developing several mission concepts, including the recently selected Europa Multiple Flyby mission where she is Co-I on the REASON radar team. She is an associate of the Dawn Framing Camera team. She is PI of Sub-Ice Marine and Planetary Analog Ecosystems (SIMPLE), a $5M NASA program studying the McMurdo Ice Shelf using remote sensing and underwater vehicles. She leads the Georgia Tech built Icefin AUV for under ice exploration.

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