Exploring ocean worlds on Earth and beyond

The exploration of ocean worlds in the outer Solar System offers the opportunity to search for an independent origin of life, and also to advance our capabilities for exploring and understanding life in Earth’s oceans.

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Fig. 1: The Old Man Tree vent on the Mid-Cayman Rise, part of the ultramafic-influenced Von Damm seafloor hydrothermal field9.

NOAA Ocean Exploration program.

Fig. 2: A vision for future exploration of ocean worlds.

K.P. Hand, NASA/JPL, Stone Aerospace and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.


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KPH acknowledges support from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the NASA. CRG acknowledges support from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Both KPH and CRG also acknowledge support from NASA PSTAR grant NNX16AL04G.

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Correspondence to Kevin Peter Hand or Christopher R. German.

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Hand, K.P., German, C.R. Exploring ocean worlds on Earth and beyond. Nature Geosci 11, 2–4 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-017-0045-9

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