Planetary Lunch Seminar (PLS) - Steve Vance (JPL)

Tuesday, April 04, 2023 at 12:15pm to 1:30pm

Building 54, Room 517
21 AMES ST, Cambridge, MA 02139

Title: Europa Clipper’s Exploration of Ocean World Habitability: Toward Joint Inversion of Geophysical Data to Determine Interior Properties

Abstract: I will provide a high-level overview of NASA’s Europa Clipper mission, which is set to launch in October of 2024 and begin exploring Jupiter’s ocean moon in 2031. A key goal of Europa Clipper is to infer the ocean’s salinity. This parameter results from the moon’s thermochemical evolution, so it records of the ocean’s cumulative redox history. Geophysical inversion is famously non-unique—sparse data pertaining to interior properties can be explained by different configurations of composition, temperature, etc…. We are actively developing the PlanetProfile interior structure modeling framework to consider the broad parameter space of possible Europa interiors. Simultaneously, we are conducting lab experiments to provide the missing data needed to infer ocean density and electrical conductivity from gravity and magnetic field measurements. As I will illustrate, these methods and data are critical for exploring many of the solar system’s ocean worlds to understand their habitability.


About this Series: The MIT Planetary Lunch Seminar [PLS] is a weekly seminar series organized within the EAPS department. Colloquia topics span the range of research interests of the department's planetary sciences research program. The seminars take place on Tuesdays from 12:15–1:30 pm, unless otherwise noted (term-time only). Speakers include members of the MIT community and visitors. Talks are intended to appeal to graduate students, postdocs, research scientists, and faculty with a background in planetary science. For more information and Zoom password contact:

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Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences
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