DEFENSE: Antarctic Ice Shelves as Ocean World Analogs

The search for life beyond Earth is a primary goal of NASA, and in our solar system ocean worlds such as Jupiter’s moon Europa are among the most promising targets. Europa has a global outer shell of ice which is likely to be tens of km thick – but also a lower mass meaning pressures and temperatures in the upper ocean below the shell may be similar to Earth’s polar oceans. Models for the habitability of Europa’s hydrosphere suggest that exchange of radiolytically-generate oxidants in the ice shell with reduced compounds from the ocean across the sub-ice shell ice-ocean interface, controlled by melting and freezing processes, is important for Europa’s overall habitability. Ahead of the Europa Clipper mission, anticipated to reach the Jovian system by ~2030, we turn to Antarctica’s ice-covered oceans to build our understanding of how sub-ice ecosystems operate, and simultaneously apply these lessons to other oceans worlds in our solar system.

Event Details


  • Wednesday, June 29, 2022 - 3:00pm

ES&T L1114 &