Press Release

NASA Talk Will Explore Oceans at the Edge of the Solar System

By SpaceRef Editor
November 1, 2014
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On Tuesday, Nov. 4 at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, Kevin Hand from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) will present “Ocean Worlds of the Outer Solar System” at 2 p.m. in the Reid Conference Center.

At least five moons in the outer solar system may have liquid water oceans. These oceans have likely been there for much of the history of the solar system and are considered good candidates for NASA’s search for life beyond Earth.

The deputy chief scientist for solar system exploration at JPL in Pasadena, California, Hand will explain the science behind why researchers think they know these oceans exist, and what they know about the physical and chemical conditions on these worlds

Hand will be available to answer questions from the media during a news briefing at 1:15 p.m. that day. Media who wish to do so should contact Chris Rink at 757-864-6786, or by e-mail at, by noon on the day of the talk for credentials and entry to the center.

That same evening at 7:30, Hand will present a similar program for the general public at the Virginia Air & Space Center in downtown Hampton. This Sigma Series event is free and no reservations are required.

Hand will focus on the surface chemistry of Jupiter’s moon Europa and connect laboratory measurements to ground and space-based observations of its surface. He will also show how the study of several extreme environments on Earth are helping our search for habitable environments on distant worlds while providing new insights into Earth’s complex ecosystems.

At JPL, Hand’s research focuses on the origin, evolution, and distribution of life in the solar system with an emphasis on moons of the outer solar system that likely have liquid water oceans. His work involves modeling, laboratory experiments, and field campaigns and exploring some of Earth’s most extreme environments including the Dry Valleys of Antarctica, the depths of the Earth’s oceans, the icy permafrost of Alaska, and the glaciers of Kilimanjaro. In 2011, he was selected as a National Geographic Emerging Explorer.

Hand has been featured in several television documentaries for National Geographic, Discovery and PBS and was featured in the IMAX film “Aliens of the Deep.” He has made nine dives to the bottom of the ocean and was a scientist onboard James Cameron’s 2012 dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. He earned his doctorate from Stanford University and bachelors degrees from Dartmouth College.

For more information about NASA Langley’s Colloquium and Sigma Series Lectures, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.