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Webinar: Grounding Perspectives on Ice Loss in Antarctica

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Monday, 03 May 2021, 2:45

Monday, May 3, 2021. 2:45 PM. Webinar: Grounding Perspectives on Ice Loss in Antarctica. Britney Schmidt, Georgia Tech. Sponsored by Cornell University. More information here.

Britney Schmidt’s primary interest is floating ice systems—Jupiter’s moon Europa and Earth’s ice shelves. She is interested in how these environments work and how they may become habitable. She has chosen to focus on Europa because of its potential to have what other places may not have: a stable source of energy from tides that can power geological cycles over the lifetime of the solar system. At its most basic form, life is like a battery, depending upon redox reactions to move electrons. A planetary proxy for this is activity, whereby a planet recycles through geologic processes, and maintains chemical gradients of which life can take advantage. Without recycling, it is possible that even once habitable environments can become inhospitable. This is where terrestrial process analogs come into the picture—by studying how ice and water interact in environments on Earth we can better understand the surface indications of such on Europa (and other icy worlds). Britney’s work provides a framework by which to remotely understand planetary cryospheres and test hypotheses, until such time as subsurface characterization becomes possible by radar sounding, landed seismology, or one day, roving submersibles.

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