Hans Huybrighs from Max Plank Institute visited Wellington and gave a talk for the New Zealand Astrobiology Network in partnership with Milky-Way.kiwi, News from the Galactic Centre. Hans talked about water volcanoes on Europa and what is it like to be tasting an extraterrestrial ocean.

“A deep ocean of liquid water is hidden under the icy surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa. Life might have developed here, shielded from sunlight and curious observers from planet Earth. Peeping through the ice to find traces of this hypothetical life is easier said than done, especially when you realise that the ice could be several kilometres thick. How then can we “taste” this ocean and how can Europa’s water volcanoes help with this?”

Hans Huybrighs is currently a PhD researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, studying data from NASA’s historic Galileo mission in preparation of the European Space Agency’s JUpiter ICy moon Explorer (JUICE), which is scheduled for launch in 2022. From 2019 Hans will be working for ESA to continue preparations for JUICE.



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