Where is the best place to find living life beyond Earth? It may be that the small, ice-covered moons of Jupiter and Saturn harbor some of the most habitable real estate in our Solar System. Life loves liquid water and these moons have lots of it! Such oceans worlds have likely persisted for much of the history of the solar system, and as a result they are compelling targets for our exploration. Dr. Kevin Hand (of the Jet Propulsion Lab) explains the science behind our understanding of these worlds, with a special focus on Jupiter’s intriguing moon Europa, which is a top priority for future NASA missions. Dr. Hand is also the author of a popular-level book "Alien Oceans: The Search for Life in the Depths of Space." (Recorded Apr. 10, 2019.)
Dr. Hand is a planetary scientist at JPL in Pasadena, California and the Director of its Ocean Worlds Lab. His research focuses on the origin, evolution, and distribution of life in the solar system with an emphasis on Europa. From 2011 to 2016, Hand served as Deputy Chief Scientist for Solar System Exploration at JPL. His work has brought him to the Dry Valleys of Antarctica, the sea ice near the North Pole, the depths of the Earth’s oceans, and to the glaciers of Kilimanjaro. Dr. Hand was a scientist onboard James Cameron’s 2012 dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, and he was part of a 2003 IMAX expedition to hydrothermal vents in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.