Searching for Life in Oceans Beyond Earth

Event Details
  • Date/Time:
    • Thursday March 28, 2019
      6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
  • Location: Room 117, Smithgall Building, 353 Ferst Drive, Atlanta, GA
  • Phone:
  • URL:
  • Email:
  • Fee(s):
    Free and open to the public
  • Extras:


Summary Sentence: A public lecture by Kevin Hand, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technololgy

Full Summary: This public lecture is part of the 2019 ExplOrigins Colloquium, organized by the Georgia Tech astrobiology community.

  • Kevin Hand Kevin Hand

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!

These oceans worlds of the outer solar system have likely persisted for much of the history of the solar system. As a result they are highly compelling targets in our search for life beyond Earth.

Kevin Hand will explain why we think we know these oceans exist and what we know about the conditions on these worlds. He will focus on Jupiter’s moon Europa, which is a top priority for future NASA missions. The talk will also show how the exploration of Earth’s ocean is helping to inform our understanding of the potential habitability of worlds like Europa.

About the Speaker

Kevin Peter Hand is a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. His research focuses on the origin, evolution, and distribution of life in the solar system, with emphasis on Jupiter’s moon, Europa. His work involves both theoretical and laboratory research on the physics and chemistry of icy moons in the outer solar system.

Hand is the director of the Ocean Worlds Lab at JPL. He served as co-chair for NASA’s Europa Lander Science Definition team. He is the Project Scientist for the Pre-Phase-A Europa Lander mission.

From 2011 to 2016, Hand served as deputy chief scientist for Solar System Exploration at JPL. He served as a member of the National Academies Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Sciences.

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.

He 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. Hand has made nine dives to the bottom of the ocean. In 2011 he was selected as a National Geographic Explorer.

Hand earned his Ph.D. from Stanford University and B.S. degrees from Dartmouth College. He was born and raised in Manchester, Vermont.

About the 2019 ExplOrigins Colloquium

This interdisciplinary colloquium and networking event has two goals: (1) to forge connections across Georgia Tech straddling the boundaries between technology development and hypothesis testing in the search for life’s beginnings and (2) to explore collaborative ideas among participants.

Organizing Committee

  • Peter Colin, postdoctoral fellow, School of Biological Sciences
  • Zijian Li, Ph.D. student, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Tyler Roche, Ph.D. student, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Micah Schaible, postdoctoral fellow, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Pengxiao Xu, Ph.D. student, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
  • George Zaharescu, postdoctoral fellow, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Faculty Advisor: Martha Grover, professor, School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

More information is available here

Related Links

Additional Information

In Campus Calendar

College of Sciences, EAS, School of Biological Sciences, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Invited Audience
Faculty/Staff, Postdoc, Public, Graduate students, Undergraduate students
ocean world, extraterrestrial life, search for life in solar system
  • Created By: A. Maureen Rouhi
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Mar 12, 2019 - 5:51pm
  • Last Updated: Mar 12, 2019 - 5:53pm