Cornell University

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Icy Ocean World Interiors from Gravity and Topography

Monday, March 12, 2018 at 12:15pm to 1:15pm

Space Sciences Building, 105

Abstract: The discovery of icy ocean worlds within our own solar system has raised several important questions. Might these worlds, with their potentially habitable subsurface oceans, present our most promising opportunity for discovering life beyond Earth? More basically, how do we know the extent of these internal oceans, or that they are even present at all? Are these oceans a persistent or transient phenomenon? With an emphasis on Saturn's small but surprisingly active moon Enceladus, I will show how, even with limited topography and gravity field information, we can place constraints on the interior structures and thermal states of these fascinating little worlds. At the same time, however, I will show that there are many fundamentally important questions that remain open.

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Monica Carpenter

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Douglas Hemingway

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UC Berkeley

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