Life on Europa? Exploring Jupiter’s Icy Moon

APRIL 13, 2012

Dr. Britney Schmidt

Institute for Geophysics
The University of Texas at Austin

What is the talk about?

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.

About our presenter

Dr. Britney Schmidt

Dr. Britney Schmidt

Dr. Britney 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.