Visitor information

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Britney Schmidt (Georgia Institute of Technology)

Seminar time and place: Wednesday 17 April, 14:15. ExWi B5

Professor Schmidt's area of interest and expertise is planetary ices and the early solar system. She is keenly interested in the habitability of icy worlds and collaborates actively with both geophysicists and biologists. From 2007 until present, she has assisted NASA Science Definition Teams for Europa missions in both assistant and advisory roles and played a key role in developing the recent Europa Clipper and Europa Lander mission concepts. She is the principal investigator of Project RISE UP (Ross Ice Shelf and Europa Underwater Probe) which is comprehensively studying the geophysics and biology beneath the McMurdo Ice Shelf using integrated imaging, ice penetrating radar, and subsurface exploration by a hybrid autonomous underwater vehicle called ICEFIN.

Talk title: Getting Under Europa’s Skin

Europa is one of the most enticing targets in the search for life beyond Earth. With an icy outer shell hiding a global ocean, Europa exists in a dynamic environment where immense tides from Jupiter potentially power an active deeper interior and intense radiation and impacts bathe the top of the ice, providing sources of energy that could sustain a biosphere. Europa’s icy plate tectonics, and evidence for shallow water within the ice, implies that rapid ice shell recycling could create a conveyor belt between the ice and ocean, allowing ocean material to one day be detected by spacecraft.

Beneath ice shelves on Earth, processes such as accretion, melt and circulation mediate the ice as an important element of the climate system. Here, ice-ocean exchange may be similar to that on Europa, but is difficult to observe given the harsh environment and thickness of the ice. Thus exploring the cryosphere can form the foundation of our understanding of other ocean worlds and a test bed for their exploration.

In this presentation, we will explore environments on Europa and their analogs here on Earth. NASA will launch the Europa Clipper Mission in 2021, but while we wait to get there, we are looking to our own cosmic backyard to help us to better understand this enigmatic moon.  I will describe our work on the McMurdo and Ross Ice Shelves under our 2017-2020 field program, RISE UP, using the under ice AUV/ROV Icefin built by our lab. We will also describe our work in collaboration with the University of Otago and Antarctica New Zealand on the Ross Ice Shelf Programme, and with the NERC-NSF International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration. Using this new robotic capability, we are working to gather unique new data relevant to climate and planetary science, and develop techniques for together exploring the Earth and one day Europa, an ice-covered world not so unlike our own.

Office: G6, 207

Host: Dr. Patricio Becerra (patricio.becerra"at"


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Monday, April 15, 2019
12.15–13.00: Lunch at Grosse Schanze
15.00–15.30: Kaustubh Hakim
16.00–17.00: Geologie Kolloquium (Baltzerstrasse 3, 2.OG, Studer Auditorium)
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
10.00–11.00: Tour of IceLab
11.00–12.00: Tour of IceLab
12.15–13.00: Lunch
14.15–15:30: Apurva Oza (G6 205)
16.00–17.00: Olga Pinzón
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
10.00–11.00: Romain Cerubini
11.00–12.00: Kevin Heng
12.15–13.00: CSH Lunch
13.00–14.00: Andreas Riedo, LMS Laboratories
14.15–15:30: WP Seminar
15.30–16.00: Clémence Herny
16.00–17.00: Daniel Angerhausen (G6, 015)

Dinner plans: Tuesday April 16, 2017. 18:45 (Mappa Mondo, Länggassstrasse 44). 8 spots available:
1. Britney Schmidt
2. Patricio Becerra
3. Apurva Oza
4. Olga Pinzón
5. Romain Cerubini
6. Camila Cesar