Experimental and Simulation Efforts in the Astrobiological Exploration of Exooceans

Taubner, Ruth-Sophie; Olsson-Francis, Karen; Vance, Steven D.; Ramkissoon, Nisha K.; Postberg, Frank; de Vera, Jean-Pierre; Antunes, André; Camprubi Casas, Eloi; Sekine, Yasuhito; Noack, Lena; Barge, Laura; Goodman, Jason; Jebbar, Mohamed; Journaux, Baptiste; Karatekin, Özgür; Klenner, Fabian; Rabbow, Elke; Rettberg, Petra; Rückriemen-Bez, Tina; Saur, Joachim; Shibuya, Takazo and Soderlund, Krista M. (2020). Experimental and Simulation Efforts in the Astrobiological Exploration of Exooceans. Space Science Reviews, 216(1), article no. 9.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11214-020-0635-5


The icy satellites of Jupiter and Saturn are perhaps the most promising places in the Solar System regarding habitability. However, the potential habitable environments are hidden underneath km-thick ice shells. The discovery of Enceladus’ plume by the Cassini mission has provided vital clues in our understanding of the processes occurring within the interior of exooceans. To interpret these data and to help configure instruments for future missions, controlled laboratory experiments and simulations are needed. This review aims to bring together studies and experimental designs from various scientific fields currently investigating the icy moons, including planetary sciences, chemistry, (micro-)biology, geology, glaciology, etc. This chapter provides an overview of successful in situ, in silico, and in vitro experiments, which explore different regions of interest on icy moons, i.e. a potential plume, surface, icy shell, water and brines, hydrothermal vents, and the rocky core.

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