Ice is omnipresent in our Solar System; on Earth, on planetary bodies, and on moons in the outer Solar System. In the past, terrestrial and extraterrestrial cryosphere science mostly developed as independent research fields whereas synergies may shed light on both fields. This ISSI Team brings together scientists working on terrestrial and extra-terrestrial cryospheres.

The main goal is to make knowledge hidden in the vast amounts of existing data from different research groups accessible by consolidating it into a comprehensive meta-data enriched compilation of ice properties. This extends to relevant physical regimes on both Earth, and icy moons including data from field campaign measurements, laboratory experiments, and planetary missions.

Information on thermal, physical, and chemical ice properties will be used to derive parametrizations (interpolations to express the dependence of properties on e.g., temperature, pressure or depth, and chemical composition). These can be easily implemented as initial and boundary conditions or sub-scale material parameters in numerical models, thereby significantly enhancing the data’s simulation readiness. At the end of the project, the database, the accompanying parametrizations, and potential simulation results will be made publicly available. This approach will provide us with the unique opportunity to transfer and extrapolate the information from the Earth to the outer Solar System bodies.

Our ISSI Team is an important step forward to bring together the Earth cryosphere community and the icy moons community to explore cryo-environments at different scales. With the launch of the JUICE mission this year and Europa Clipper mission in 2024, this research is timely and will lay the foundation for joint analyses between terrestrial and extra-terrestrial cryosphere communities to address future mission data from the outer Solar System.

More details are available in the full proposal


Banner image by Benjamin Terschanski