The Dix Planetary Science Seminar
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? In this talk, I will focus mainly on Saturn's small but surprisingly active moon Enceladus, arguing that it is one of the most compelling targets for future exploration in the solar system. I will show how, even with limited topography and gravity field information, we can place constraints on the interior structure and thermal state of this fascinating little world. Finally, I will discuss icy ocean worlds more broadly and some of the interesting questions that remain open.