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Research

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NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute

Spectral Fingerprints of Europa's Ocean

Europa's young surface age, unique geology, and potentially salty surface composition suggest an active past, during which material originating in the subsurface ocean may have been emplaced onto the surface. Using spectroscopic observations of geologically interesting terrains and comparison with laboratory data, I am working to unravel the composition of oceanic material on Europa's surface.

Europa's Thermal Emission

The Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) allows us to see Europa's thermal emission from Earth. I have been using ALMA to investigate the nature of Europa's surface thermal structure, constrain its surface thermal properties, and search for thermal anomalies potentially indicative of geologic activity.

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Radiolysis on Icy Satellites

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The icy Galilean satellites, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, orbit within Jupiter's massive magnetosphere, which results in the constant bombardment of their surfaces by energetic charged particles. Using ground- and space-based spectroscopy, I work to understand the resulting radiolytic chemistry, which is key to our understanding of the surface compositions of these moons and how they evolve over time. This understanding will, in turn, shed light on how these widespread processes operate throughout the solar system on icy bodies that are not so easily observed.

Volcanic Surface Chemistry on Io

Io is the most volcanically active place in the solar system and, as a result, possesses the solar system's youngest surface. Truly a world of fire and ice, its ever-changing surface is covered in colorful volcanic products—white sulfur dioxide frost, dark lava flows, and red sulfur-rich material. I am using UV and visible-wavelength spectroscopy to link geologic and chemical processes on Io and further our understanding of silicate volcanism beyond Earth. Results coming soon!

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NASA/JPL/University of Arizona