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Life on Europa? Exploring Jupiter's Icy Moon





Welch Hall (WEL) Auditorium (map)

Pre-lecture activities start at 5:45 p.m. Lecture followed by questions & answers from 7-8:15 p.m.

Web Broadcast:
The Live Webcast will start at 7pm. Please log on at least 15 minutes before start time to download the necessary plug-ins to ensure proper viewing.

The event will take place on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin in the Welch (WEL) Hall Auditorium. Click here for a map to WEL.

by Dr. Britney Schmidt 
The University of Texas Institute for Geophysics
Friday, April 13, 2012 - 7 PM CT
[View this talk's YouTube Trailer

What is the Lecture About?

Lecture title: Life on Europa? Exploring Jupiter's Icy Moon

Do you ever wonder about the possibility of life on other planets? Evidence of a shallow lake of liquid water on Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, suggests the potential for life may exist within our solar system.  Dr. Britney Schmidt studies these structures, one of which has a similar volume to the North American Great Lakes.  These icy areas may have physical mechanisms that permit the exchange of nutrients and energy between the planet's surface, and a large ocean inferred to lie beneath the ice shell. Dr. Schmidt takes us on a journey that examines some essential environmental conditions necessary to support life, and how these conditions may arise on other planets. 

Presenter's Biosketch

Dr. Schmidt is a research scientist at The University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, working with Dr. Don Blankenship.  She received her Ph.D. in Geophysics and Space Physics at The University of California at Los Angeles in 2010. Dr. Schmidt has published in premier scientific journals such as Nature and Science, and has won teaching awards as a graduate teaching assistant at UCLA.  She is actively involved in academic service and public speaking, and served as Chair of the 2012 Astrobiology Research Focus Group conference.  She also served as Acting EPO Science Team Liaison for the NASA Dawn Mission from August 2010 - February 2011. 

Websites of Interest:

Commander Ben interviews Dr. Britney Schmidt

Scientists find evidence for "Great Lake" on Europa and potential new habitat for life:  UT Jackson Geosciences News, November 16, 2011

View animation of formation of lakes on Europa

The McDonald Observatory: operated by the Astronomy Program at The University of Texas at Austin, the Observatory operatesw four resarch telescopes from a site in West Texas.

The Universities Space Research Association: an independent research corporation that facilitates cooperation among universities, government entites, and other research organizations and suppors education and outreach programs for students, educators, and the public.

The Austin Planetarium: dedicated to creating a planetarium for the City of Austin, currently the largest city in the United States without this scientific and educational resource.

Teacher Workshop Information:

A K-12 teacher workshop at the event beginning at 5:45 p.m. Teachers who attend the workshop and/or the evening's lecture can receive professional development credit. To RSVP and join the workshop please visit our Teacher Opportunities Page.

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