PS2.5 | Icy Moon Exploration: Bridging the Cryosphere and Icy Moon Communities
Icy Moon Exploration: Bridging the Cryosphere and Icy Moon Communities
Co-organized by CR7/GM7
Convener: Marc S. Boxberg | Co-conveners: Ana-Catalina Plesa, Christopher Gerekos, Costanza Rossi
| Thu, 18 Apr, 08:30–10:15 (CEST)
Room L1
Posters on site
| Attendance Thu, 18 Apr, 16:15–18:00 (CEST) | Display Thu, 18 Apr, 14:00–18:00
Hall X3
Orals |
Thu, 08:30
Thu, 16:15
The icy moons of our Solar System are prime targets for the search for extraterrestrial life. Moons such as Saturn's Enceladus and Jupiter's Europa are considered potential habitats because of their subglacial water oceans, which are in direct contact with the rocks below. Titan, with its potential subsurface ocean, icy surface and methane-based weather, could provide an analogue for a primordial earth and the circumstances in which life developed. To assess the habitability and sample the oceans of these moons, several approaches are being discussed, including water plume surveys on Europa and Enceladus, as well as developing key technologies to penetrate the ice and even study the ocean itself with autonomous underwater vehicles, if the ice is thin enough. Moreover, a key aspect of habitability is linked with the geological processes acting on these moons. The main questions that this session aims to address are the following:
- What can we learn from analogue studies on Earth?
- What are the properties of the ice shell and how do they evolve?
- How will planned missions to these bodies contribute to furthering our understanding?
- What measurements should be conducted by future missions?

The goal of this multidisciplinary session is to bring together scientists from different fields, including planetary sciences and the cryosphere community, to discuss the current status and next steps in the remote and in-situ exploration of the icy moons of our solar system. We welcome contributions from analogue studies, on the results of current and past missions, planned missions, mission concepts, lessons learned from other missions, and more. Contributions bridging the cryosphere-icy moons communities are of particular interest to this session.

Orals: Thu, 18 Apr | Room L1

Chairpersons: Marc S. Boxberg, Ana-Catalina Plesa
On-site presentation
Anezina Solomonidou, Alice Le Gall, Paul Hayne, and Athena Coustenis

The Cassini spacecraft spent 13 years in the Saturnian system and performed observations of Titan through 127 flybys, along with the in situ observations of the surface by Huygens. This led to the detailed investigation of Titan’s surface composition at both local and global scale. However, due to the complexity of Titan’s atmosphere and surface, the surface composition is only partially unveiled and is still considered to be one of Titan’s largest mysteries. Titan is resembling Earth like no other body in our solar system even though its mean surface temperature in -180 ºC (~93 K), and instead of silicate rocks like on Earth, water ice is abundant in the crust. Sedimentary deposits in the form of hydrocarbon grains cover the top layer of the surface, while liquid hydrocarbons are found in the polar lakes. Titan’s active geology with its resurfacing processes creates a surficial topography where exposed materials from the underlying ‘old’ crust along with new atmospheric sediments are present. After Cassini and Huygens with their several instruments investigated Titan for more than a decade one of the prevailing questions that still remains unanswered is whether and where water ice is exposed on the surface. Additionally, advanced knowledge with regards to the mixtures and the materials that create and cover the surface is yet to be gained from future missions and ground/space telescopes that would carry advanced technology. Here, we present an overview of what we have learnt so far about the composition as well as its correlation and constraints with regards to Titan’s astrobiology.

How to cite: Solomonidou, A., Le Gall, A., Hayne, P., and Coustenis, A.: Titan’s surface chemical composition: what we learnt after 13 years of Cassini exploration, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-15222,, 2024.

On-site presentation
Duncan Lyster, Carly Howett, Neil Bowles, Rory Evans, Tristram Warren, and Keith Nowicki

Introduction: Enceladus is a key target for astrobiological study, with its subsurface ocean and cryovolcanism focused at the South Pole’s 'tiger stripe' fractures; understanding temperature variations is essential to decipher the moon's geological activity and potential for life. Blending heritage from TechDemoSat-1, Mars Climate Sounder, and Lunar Trailblazer, the University of Oxford’s Enceladus Thermal Mapper (ETM) faces new opportunities and challenges in observing this active icy moon of Saturn. This high heritage thermal instrument will characterise Enceladus’ activity and surface properties by measuring its day, night, and polar-night temperatures, with particular focus on the tiger stripes. The winter temperatures are the most challenging, as they plunge as low as 45 K. This cold temperature regime is driving adaptations to sensor design and operations, for example requiring long exposure times and meticulous noise control.

High-Resolution Multi-Band Radiometric Thermal Mapping vs Spectroscopy: Cassini's Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) achieved high spectral and spatial resolution, with its highest spatial-resolution detectors (focal planes 3 and 4) having 10 pixels, each with an instantaneous field of view (iFOV) of 0.273 mrad [1]. However, due to the limited flyby nature of Cassini much of Enceladus was left without high-resolution thermal mapping. In contrast, the University of Oxford's multi-band radiometric instrument operates 384 cross-track line scanning pixels, each with an iFOV of 0.540 mrad. The instrument has space for 15 wavelength bands and operates as a 384 x 288 pixel push-broom sensor. Preliminary mission concepts anticipate flying this instrument in orbit around Enceladus at an altitude of 150 km. This would mean ETM could globally map Enceladus at 80 m/pixel resolution, with a track 31 km wide (Fig. 1).

Digital Twin Instrument for Optimised Filter Selection: We will discuss the newly developed digital model of the instrument, which creates a framework for comparing and selecting various bandpass filters and sensor geometries. Strategically chosen filter profiles will facilitate the determination of black body emission curves, allowing for precise temperature measurements with a goal of improving constraints on global thermal emission due to tidal heating. The suitability of different filter profiles for NASA’s science goals will be discussed.


Figure 1: Fractures at Enceladus’ South Pole – Cassini’s CIRS compared to Enceladus Thermal Mapper Warm fractures at Enceladus’ South Pole vary in temperature along their length. (Left) One of the highest resolution thermal maps captured by Cassini. [2] (Right) Artistic impression: Orbiting at 150 km, ETM’s ground track would be 31 km, and it would be capable of resolving 80 m features at nadir.

References: [1] Howett, C. J. A., Spencer, J. R., Pearl, J., and Segura, M. (2011) J. Geophys. Res., 116, E03003. [2] NASA/JPL/GSFC/SWRI/SSI (2010) "Zooming in on heat at Baghdad Sulcus", Cassini-Huygens,

How to cite: Lyster, D., Howett, C., Bowles, N., Evans, R., Warren, T., and Nowicki, K.: Optimising Thermal Mapping Instrument Filters to Unveil Enceladus' Subsurface Secrets, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-20872,, 2024.

On-site presentation
Ray and Halo impact craters on Ganymede: Insights into the stratification of icy crust
Namitha Rose Baby, Thomas Kenkmann, Katrin Stephan, Roland Wagner, and Ernst Hauber
On-site presentation
Rafael Ottersberg, Antoine Pommerol, Linus Leo Stöckli, and Nicolas Thomas

Spectrometers and colour imagers on past and future space missions, as well as ground-based telescopes, help us to improve our understanding of the composition of icy surfaces in the outer solar system. To help interpret these datasets, we study the VIS-NIR (0.4-2.5 µm) reflectance properties of granular (salty) ice particles exposed to simulated space environments.

We further developed an original experimental chamber (SCITEAS-2) to study the evolution of samples at temperatures representative of icy planetary surfaces in the outer solar system. We built a new cooling/heating stage to precisely control the sample’s temperature, allowing us to decouple the effects of temperature and time on the sublimation process. The surface temperature of the ice is monitored by measuring IR-emission using Thermopile sensors. To study the reflectance of the sample, we use a hyperspectral imaging system consisting of a Halogen light source, a monochromator, and two cameras (CCD and MCT). We produce granular ice particles with a broad size distribution (d≈1-400µm) by flash-freezing dispersed droplets in LN2. These particles can be made from pure water or salty solutions.

We observe that the VIS-spectrum of pure water ice is flatter than the one of the ice produced from a 10wt% NaCl solution, which has a blue slope. The most prominent feature of granular 10wt% NaCl-ice is a narrow absorption feature at 1.98 µm, attributed to hydrohalite (NaCl · 2H2O), which is not present in the pure ice sample. However, it only appears after some sublimation of the sample. While the spectra of pure water ice and 10wt% NaCl ice match well for the pristine samples, sublimation strongly increases the albedo of salty ice. Sublimation forms a crust atop the sample, affecting the reflectance and strongly influencing other thermo-physical properties. Therefore, we propose that sublimation is an important ingredient in interpreting spectral data of the Jovian Moon Europa because the timescales of the effects of sublimation are smaller than surface renewal by micrometeorite gardening or sputtering.

These datasets will help to interpret high-resolution colour images and spectra acquired by the EIS and MISE instruments on Europa Clipper as well as similar instruments on JUICE.

How to cite: Ottersberg, R., Pommerol, A., Stöckli, L. L., and Thomas, N.: Reflectance properties of analogues for the surfaces of icy moons, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-17310,, 2024.

On-site presentation
Lea Bonnefoy, Catherine Prigent, Ghislain Picard, Clément Soriot, Lise Kilic, and Carlos Jimenez

Icy surfaces across the solar system display unusual microwave radar and radiometry properties, including very high backscattering cross-sections and polarization ratios. At low temperature, snow and ice are very transparent to microwaves, leading to long path lengths and multiple scattering. Yet despite the large volume of available passive and active microwave satellite observations over the Earth cryosphere, physical interpretation of the co-variability of the multi-frequency observations is still challenging, especially when trying to reconcile radiometry and radar observations. To shed light on microwave scattering in icy regoliths, we focus on the Antarctic megadunes region, the coldest and driest area on Earth, which we propose as a new analog for icy satellites due to its very low precipitation (net zero snow accumulation) and temperature (averaging -50°C), combined with the highest microwave backscatter in Antarctica. We assemble a dataset consisting of 5.2 GHz ASCAT and 13.4 GHz QuikSCAT and OSCAT scatterometry, as well as AMSR2 radiometry at 6.9 to 89 GHz. Using the Snow Microwave Radiative Transfer (SMRT) model with a simplified snowpack with constant temperature and continuously increasing grain size and density with depth, we simulate simultaneously radar and radiometry. For the first time, we show that scatterometry and 6.9 to 37 GHz radiometry at V polarization can be successfully simulated with a unique simple snowpack model, indicating that incoherent volume scattering on subsurface heterogeneities dominates both the active and passive signal. The success of our approach encourages further work to analyze and simulate jointly active and passive microwave observations, both in the Earth cryosphere and on icy moons.

How to cite: Bonnefoy, L., Prigent, C., Picard, G., Soriot, C., Kilic, L., and Jimenez, C.: Microwave scattering in the Antarctic megadunes region: reconciling radar and radiometry, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-17359,, 2024.

On-site presentation
Dustin Schroeder, Natalie Wolfenbarger, and Gregor Steinbrügge

Ice penetrating radars are intuitively appealing for probing ice shells because it is perceived as a way to directly imaging the ice/ocean interface or as a way to "picture" and interpret visually the structural  cross-section of the ice. While this approach is significant and can lead to substantial discoveries, it's also likely that many radar sounding measurements will not exhibit these obvious, intuitive features.

Here, we address the potential of more subtle radar echoes (or the absence thereof) in providing valuable information. These echoes can impose constraints on ice temperature and thickness, offering insights similar to those obtained from other planetary geophysical methods like gravity science or magnetic induction measurements.

In our study, we examine four potential radar signatures: pore-closure, eutectic melt, isolated echo detection, and attenuation horizons. We demonstrate that each of these signatures, by providing observational constraints on either the temperature or the integrated two-way attenuation at a given depth, can help determine the thickness of the conductive portion of Europa's ice shell.

By integrating these findings with other geophysical approaches (e.g., gravity, magnetics), radar sounding data can significantly enhance studies and models of the ice-shell interior, even without the direct detection of the ice/ocean interface.


How to cite: Schroeder, D., Wolfenbarger, N., and Steinbrügge, G.: Constraining the Thickness of the Conductive Portion Europa's Ice Shell using Sparse Radar Echoes, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-1458,, 2024.

On-site presentation
Emiliano D'Aversa, Nicolas Ligier, François Poulet, Yves Langevin, John Carter, and Giuseppe Piccioni

We report here about the currently foreseen scientific activity of the MAJIS instrument during the two planned JUICE flybys of Europa in 2032. MAJIS [1] (Moon and Jupiter Imaging Spectrometer) is a two-channel imaging spectrometer onboard JUICE, covering the spectral range 0.5-5.55 μm, splitted in a VISNIR channel (0.5-2.36 μm, <4.6 nm sampling) and a IR channel (2.27-5.55 μm, <7 nm sampling). This work has been developed in the framework of an inter-instrumental planning exercise carried on by ESA in 2022/23 to establish the best scientific and technical strategy to be adopted by the JUICE spacecraft during its low-altitude encounters with the Jovian satellite. Although the final JUICE trajectory is still subject to change (version Crema 5.0 [2] has been used), and several details of the actual observations are pending, the overall framework of the operations is well established and able to give an idea of the possible scientific constraints and outcomes for MAJIS.

The two Europa flybys are expected to be rather similar in terms of overall geometry, but almost specular about equator, enabling a good complementary coverage of both northern and southern hemispheres. Only the first one has been studied in detail and discussed here.

Due to favorable illumination conditions, the flyby inbound leg is mainly devoted to surface studies. A first almost full coverage of the trailing hemisphere for all latitudes below 45°N, including some slant view of the southern polar cap, can be obtained at lower resolutions (3-10 km/px), during the initial flyby phase.A wider surface coverage can then be achieved at medium spatial resolution (1-2 km/px), encompassing a wide portion of Europa’s darker trailing hemisphere. The 150 μrad IFOV will also enable MAJIS to acquire multispectral images of the Europa surface at high resolution (110-300 m/px) in small postage stamps distributed along narrow tracks (about 80 x 1800 km), near the closest approach. While current evaluations make them cover mid latitudes linear features (a region around Cadmus and Minos Lineae, ~160°E,45°N), the precise location of these high-res tracks might change significantly as a consequence of trajectory adjustments. 

A search for thermal anomalies can be performed during the outbound flyby leg, when the spacecraft mostly flies over the night (leading) hemisphere. The rest of the outbound is devoted to limb observations at different latitudes, with vertical resolution changing from 1.1 to 10 km/px. The high solar phase angle encountered in this section (~140°) is optimal for searching eventual active plumes thanks to the high forward scattering efficiency of small ice particles in the MAJIS spectral range. The region covered by such limb observations should also be compatible with the location of plumes reported in literature [3,4,5].



[1] Poulet et al., 2023, Submitted to Space Science Review.

[2] ESA SPICE Service, JUICE Operational SPICE Kernel Dataset, DOI: 10.5270/esa-ybmj68p.

[3] Roth et al.,2014, Science, 343, 171, DOI: 10.1126/science.1247051.

[4] Sparks et al.,2016, ApJ,829,121, DOI: 10.3847/0004-637X/829/2/121.

[5] Jia et al.,2018, Nature Astronomy, 2, 459, DOI: 10.1038/s41550-018-0450-z.



This work has been developed under the ASI-INAF agreement n. 2023-6-HH.0.

How to cite: D'Aversa, E., Ligier, N., Poulet, F., Langevin, Y., Carter, J., and Piccioni, G.: JUICE flybys at Europa: context for MAJIS observations, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-18102,, 2024.

On-site presentation
Fabian Klenner, Lucas M. Fifer, Ardith D. Bravenec, Baptiste Journaux, and David C. Catling

Analysis of ice grains emitted from Saturn’s moon Enceladus revealed that the moon’s subsurface ocean represents a potentially habitable place in the Solar System [1-4].

The emitted ice grains could be crystalline, glassy, or a mixture of both [5,6]. These phase states of the grains are ultimately linked to their formation, i.e. liquid-solid phase transitions. Recent work indicates that emitted plume material does not directly reflect ocean composition [7]. However, even a small fraction of glass within the grains may be favorable for the preservation of organics or even cells [8,9], potentially present in Enceladus’s ocean.

Supercooling, vitrification (glass formation) and heat capacities of aqueous solutions can be measured with or derived from Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC). This technique was recently used to study Mars-relevant brines [10]. For Enceladus-relevant salt systems (described below), liquid-solid phase transitions remain an open area of research with limited thermodynamic data.

Here, we present results from DSC experiments with aliquots of aqueous solutions of NaCl, KCl, Na2CO3, NaHCO3, NH4OH, Na2HPO4, K2HPO4, as well as mixtures thereof. Measured salt concentrations covered the range of estimated concentrations of these compounds in Enceladus’s ocean [3,7,11]. We analyzed samples (volumes from 4 to 40 μL) over a wide range of cooling rates, from as low as 10 K/min up to ~1000 K/min via drop-quenching into liquid nitrogen (flash freezing). We then modeled the freezing process of these solutions and associated mineral formation using the aqueous chemistry package PHREEQC and compared the modeling results with our DSC experiments.

Our preliminary results show that at least 60 K supercooling is possible to occur during freezing of salty ice grains from Enceladus. Between 0.5 – 15 percent of the grain’s total volume form a glassy state, with salt-rich grains containing more glass than salt-poor grains. Flash freezing leads to a significantly higher degree of vitrification and lower glass transition temperatures (Tg) than other cooling rates.

Our work is an important step toward understanding the formation and structure of ice grains from Enceladus as well as their capability for cryopreservation of organics and cells. Thermodynamic and kinetic data derived from our experimental results, such as heat capacities and Tg, help inform future models. Our results are also relevant to Jupiter’s moon Europa where a potential plume might also be sourced from the moon’s underlying water ocean.



[1] Postberg et al. (2018) Nature 558, 564–568.

[2] Khawaja et al. (2019) Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 489, 5231–5243.

[3] Postberg et al. (2023) Nature 618, 489–493.

[4] Hsu et al. (2015) Nature 519, 1098–1101.

[5] Newman et al. (2008) Icarus 193, 397–406.

[6] Fox-Powell & Cousins (2021) J. Geophys. Res.: Planets 126, e2020JE006628.

[7] Fifer et al. (2022) Planet Sci. J. 3, 191.

[8] Fahy & Wowk (2015) in Cryopreservation and freeze-drying protocols, pp.21–82.

[9] Berejnov et al. (2006) J. Appl. Cryst. 39, 7848–7939.

[10] Bravenec & Catling (2023) ACS Earth Space Chem. 7, 1433–1445.

[11] Postberg et al. (2009) Nature 459, 1098–1101.

How to cite: Klenner, F., Fifer, L. M., Bravenec, A. D., Journaux, B., and Catling, D. C.: Supercooling and Glass Formation upon Freezing of Enceladus-relevant Salt Solutions, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-13575,, 2024.

Virtual presentation
Alizée Amsler Moulanier, Olivier Mousis, and Alexis Bouquet

The presence of hydrospheres within the Galilean moons raises the question of whether or not they could provide habitable environments. The study of nowadays’ volatiles inventory on those moons is indicative of their formation processes and their effects on this inventory. However, for the ability to disentangle between the possible scenarios, it is necessary to examine the post-accretion processes that could impact the volatile inventory of the hydrospheres. Especially, an “open-ocean” phase which took place shortly after accretion, before the icy crust formation, must be considered, in view of its influence on the volatile inventory. More specifically, the abundance of ammonia in Europa’s building blocks is a key constrain, both on the habitability conditions of the ocean and the volatile distribution in the primordial thick atmosphere of the moon.

Our work focuses on modelling the ocean-atmosphere equilibrium which took place over this period, based on different formation scenarios of Europa. To do so, we compute the vapor-liquid equilibrium between water and volatiles, as well as the chemical equilibria happening within the ocean to investigate the primitive hydrosphere of Europa. Our model allows for an assessment of the impact of the initial distribution of volatiles resulting from the thermodynamic equilibrium between Europa’s primordial atmosphere and ocean. In particular, we show the correlation between the ratio of dissolved CO2 and NH3 and the distribution of partial pressures in the primordial atmosphere of Europa.

Navigating between two endmembers for the composition of the building blocks (nitrogen delivered by hydrated rocks or cometary ices), and varying the proportion of ammonia incorporated into the ocean after accretion, we obtain a range of primordial volatile distributions, to be linked to nowadays inventory. We also find ammonia abundance thresholds above which CO2 content is significantly depleted by NH2COO-  formation.

How to cite: Amsler Moulanier, A., Mousis, O., and Bouquet, A.: The role of ammonia in the primordial distribution of volatiles in the hydrosphere of Europa, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-7948,, 2024.

Posters on site: Thu, 18 Apr, 16:15–18:00 | Hall X3

Display time: Thu, 18 Apr 14:00–Thu, 18 Apr 18:00
Chairpersons: Costanza Rossi, Christopher Gerekos
Julia Kowalski, Ana-Catalina Plesa, Marc Boxberg, Jacob Buffo, Klara Kalousova, Johanna Kerch, Maria Gema Llorens, Maurine Montagnat, Tina Rückriemen-Bez, Dustin Schroeder, Anna L. Simson, Christophe Sotin, Katrin Stephan, Benjamin Terschanski, Gabriel Tobie, and Natalie S. Wolfenbarger

Ice is omnipresent in our Solar System: on Earth, on different 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. In fact, close cooperation across different cryosphere research communities is a necessary prerequisite for designing future planetary exploration missions. An in-depth knowledge of similarities and differences between ice regimes on Earth and beyond paves the way for a mission preparation that optimally orchestrates terrestrial analogue field test, lab experiments, and simulation-based extrapolation to hypothesized ice regimes at the target body.

The authors of this contribution constitute the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) team Bridging the gap: from terrestrial to icy moons cryospheres, which started in 2023 and brings together scientists of different focus in terrestrial and extra-terrestrial cryosphere research. The overall goal of our project 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 including uncertainty margins if available. This extends to relevant physical regimes and different scales on both Earth, and icy moons including data from field campaign measurements, laboratory experiments, and planetary missions. A particular focus of our work will be to increase the analysis readiness of the data for subsequent data-driven or simulation-based analysis. This approach will provide us with the unique opportunity to transfer and extrapolate the information from the Earth to the outer Solar System bodies.

Here, we will introduce the project and its rationale, describe our approach to selecting and compiling the data, as well as how we will make them accessible, and present first results.

How to cite: Kowalski, J., Plesa, A.-C., Boxberg, M., Buffo, J., Kalousova, K., Kerch, J., Llorens, M. G., Montagnat, M., Rückriemen-Bez, T., Schroeder, D., Simson, A. L., Sotin, C., Stephan, K., Terschanski, B., Tobie, G., and Wolfenbarger, N. S.:  Compiling analysis-ready ice data across cryosphere disciplines , EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-21117,, 2024.

Cyril Mergny and Frédéric Schmidt

Water ice has a microstructure shaped by a complex interplay of coupled multi-physics processes. Among them, ice sintering—also referred to as metamorphism or annealing—transports material from ice grains into their neck region, resulting in changes in the mechanical and thermal properties of the ice. Understanding sintering is essential to investigate the properties and microstructure of ice. While the sintering process of snow on Earth has been extensively studied, there is a scarce amount of information regarding the alteration of ice in planetary surface environments characterized by low temperatures and pressures.

Here we present a multiphysics simulation model designed to study the evolution of planetary ice microstructure.  Coupled to a heat transfer solver, we have built a new model for the sintering of ice grain  with mathematical refinement to the diffusion process. As changes in ice microstructure affect the thermal properties we have expressed the heat conductivity with a formulation that consider microstructure and porosity which enables a two coupling between sintering and heat transfers.

Our simulations of Europa's icy surface spanned a million years, allowing us to thoroughly explore the evolution of ice microstructure. Results show that the hottest regions experience significant sintering, even if high temperatures are only reached during a brief portion of the day. This process takes place on timescales shorter than Europa's ice crust age, suggests that these regions should currently have surface ice composed of interconnected grains. Accurately simulating these highly coupled processes, plays a crucial role in accurately determining the microstructure and quantitative composition of Europa's surface, a key objective for upcoming missions such as JUICE and Europa Clipper.

How to cite: Mergny, C. and Schmidt, F.: Icy Moon Surfaces Microstructure through Multiphysics Simulations, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-9751,, 2024.

Forward Model for Subsurface Retrievals of Icy Moons
(withdrawn after no-show)
Suyun wang, Takayoshi Yamada, and Yasuko Kasai
Tina Rückriemen-Bez, Ana-Catalina Plesa, William Byrne, Hauke Hussmann, and Andreas Benedikter

Europa’s hydro- and cryosphere is of primary interest in the quest for habitable environments in the solar system (e.g., [1]). The ice shell, which connects the potential subsurface ocean to the surface, may itself provide niches for life if liquid brine pockets can form and exist for extended periods of time. It is thus crucial to understand the thermal and dynamic state of the ice shell in order to characterize the existence and transport of liquid brines within the ice shell.

Recent work by [2] and [3] investigated the effects of temperature dependent thermal conductivity (k) as well as heat capacity (cp) and a complex composite rheology on convection in the ice shell. In this work, we build upon these previous efforts by combining the influence of both - varying thermodynamic parameters and complex rheology - in geodynamic simulations performed with the convection code GAIA [4]. Instead of a temperature-dependent heat capacity, we investigate the effect of a temperature- and depth-dependent thermal expansivity (α), which is a crucial term in determining the buoyancy induced by temperature differences.


We study the dynamic state (Nu-Ra scaling), the mechanical state (elastic thickness, brittle-to-ductile transition, deformation maps), and the thermal state (bottom and top boundary heat flux, occurrence of brines) of the ice shell for various setups (using both constant and variable α and k) and input parameters (ice shell thickness and grain size). For selected models, i.e. distinct thermal and dynamic states, we calculate the local two-way attenuation based on [5], [6]. The resulting two-way attenuation patterns will offer initial insights into the radar's ability to penetrate to the ice-ocean interface. If attenuation proves excessive due to the presence of hot thermal plumes, making the sampling of the ice-ocean interface unlikely, the patterns can still provide valuable insights into the dynamic state of Europa's ice shell. This includes parameters such as the thickness of the conductive layer (the so-called stagnant lid) that forms in the top part of the ice shell or the wavelength of convective structures deeper in the ice shell.


[1] Coustenis & Encrenaz et al., 2013. [2] Carnahan et al. 2021. [3] Harel et al. 2020. [4] Hüttig et al., 2013. [5] Kalousova et al., 2017. [6] Soucek et al., 2023.

How to cite: Rückriemen-Bez, T., Plesa, A.-C., Byrne, W., Hussmann, H., and Benedikter, A.: The thermal and dynamic state of Europa’s ice shell: Revealed by global-scale convection models, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-18532,, 2024.

On accurate estimations for H/D isotope effects at super-cold conditions: Path Integral Molecular Dynamics (PIMD) simulations
(withdrawn after no-show)
Yining Zhang and Yun Liu
Guillaume Cruz Mermy, Frederic Schmidt, François Andrieu, Thomas Cornet, and Ines Belgacem

Europa’s surface is one of the youngest in the solar system. The Jovian moon is believed to hide a global liquid water ocean under its icy crust [1] and is exposed to intense space weathering due to the continuous bombardment by electrons and ions from Jupiter’s magnetosphere [2]. To understand the processes governing the evolution of the surface it is necessary to finely characterize the microphysics of the ice (composition via endmember volume abundance, grain size and surface roughness). However, the majority of the previous studies [3,4] do not allow to constrain precisely these parameters.


Here we report the use of a radiative transfer model [5] in a Bayesian MCMC inference framework [6,7] to retrieve microphysical properties of Europa's surface using the Galileo Near-Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (NIMS) hyperspectral data [8]. We present the analysis of a calibrated spectrum of a dark lineament from the trailing Anti-jovian hemisphere. The estimated signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is between 5 and 50, we mainly focus on the 1.0-2.5 µm region for which the SNR is higher with an uncertainty on the absolute calibration up to 10% [8].


A first work has allowed us to test all combinations of 3, 4 and 5 endmembers from a list of 15 relevant compounds [9]. We were able to test over 5,000 combinations and show that some compounds appear necessary to reproduce the observation, such as water ice and sulfuric acid octahydrate, in agreement with previous studies [3,4,10]. However, adding either hydrated sulfates or chlorine salts produces results substantially similar [9]. Here we present a follow-up study in which we focus on the few acceptable combinations identified by our Bayesian inversions and we analyze the results in terms of grain size and surface roughness. We show that the grain size of the mandatory endmembers is well constrained and similar from one combination to another [11]. The macroscopic roughness is however poorly constrained [11], as expected. Thanks to numerical optimizations we are able to invert independently every spectel of a NIMS hyperspectral cube with the bayesian MCMC algorithm. From this result, we present maps of microphysical properties on an entire hyperspectral image of a dark lineament. 

References: [1] Pappalardo, R. et al. (1999) JGR. [2] Carlson, R. W. et al. (2005) Icar. [3] Ligier, N. Et al. (2016) The Astr. Jour. [4] King, O. Et al. (2022) PSS. [5] Hapke, B. (2012). Cambridge Univ. Press. [6] Cubillos, P. et al. (2016), The Astr. Jour. [7] Braak, C. J. F. (2008), Stat & Comp. [8] Carlson, R. et al. (1992) ed. C. T. Russell. [9] Cruz-Mermy, G. (2022) Icarus. [10] Mishra, I. et al. (2021) Planet. Sci. [11] Cruz-Mermy, G. (2024) In prep.

How to cite: Cruz Mermy, G., Schmidt, F., Andrieu, F., Cornet, T., and Belgacem, I.: Microphysics of Europa’s surface with Galileo/NIMS data, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-18178,, 2024.

Natalie Wolfenbarger, Dustin Schroeder, and Donald Blankenship

The search for habitable worlds within our solar system is guided by liquid water. Evidence for global, salty oceans hidden beneath the icy shells of moons in the Jovian system has motivated two upcoming missions: ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (Juice), launched April 2023, and NASA’s Europa Clipper, launching October 2024. Both spacecraft are equipped with ice-penetrating radar instruments, the Radar for Icy Moon Exploration (RIME) and the Radar for Europa Assessment and Sounding: Ocean to Near-surface (REASON), that will transmit radio waves into the subsurface and record energy reflected from interfaces defined by contrasts in dielectric properties, such as the ice-ocean interface.

The ocean is presumed to be the most extensive liquid water reservoir beneath the surface. However, various ice-water interfaces could exist throughout the ice shell. Dynamic processes such as impacts, convection, tidal heating, strike-slip faulting, and basal fracturing have been hypothesized to influence melt generation or inject ocean water in the ice shell interior. Even in the absence of these dynamic processes, impurities within the ice allow liquid water to be thermodynamically stable as brine at temperatures below the freezing point. In ice shells with non-zero bulk salinity, transitions from solid ice to ice-brine mixtures, or eutectic interfaces, invariably precede the ice-ocean interface. Understanding the detectability and radiometric character of eutectic interfaces is therefore a critical step towards interpreting the data collected by these ice-penetrating radar instruments.

In this work, we review measurements and models of the dielectric properties of sea ice and marine ice on Earth. We use these measurements and models as a foundation to propose a path forward for modeling the dielectric properties of eutectic interfaces within an ice shell. We assess how the ice shell's bulk salinity and the thickness of the thermally conductive layer impact the detectability and radiometric characteristics of eutectic interfaces. Our discussion includes how future laboratory measurements of existing terrestrial ice samples coupled to measurements of proxy samples consistent with off-world ocean sources can inform and refine our proposed framework.

How to cite: Wolfenbarger, N., Schroeder, D., and Blankenship, D.: From Sea Ice to Icy Shells: Modeling the Dielectric Properties of Ice-Brine Mixtures, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-13407,, 2024.

William Byrne, Ana-Catalina Plesa, Tina Rückriemen-Bez, Andreas Benedikter, and Hauke Hussmann

Saturn's moon, Enceladus is considered a priority target for future planetary missions due to its high astrobiological potential [1]. Water jets presumably originating from a subsurface ocean have been observed at the south pole of Enceladus by NASA’s Cassini mission [2], and their analysis provides a direct window into the ocean composition [3] that, in turn, can help to understand the nature and amount of impurities that may exist within the ice shell.

Enceladus’ jet activity generates a highly porous material that affects the thermal state of the ice shell. The thickness of that layer and its distribution are poorly constrained, but local thicknesses of up to 700m have been reported from the analysis of pit chains on the surface of Enceladus [4]. Such a thick porous layer can strongly attenuate the signal of radar sounders that have been proposed to investigate the Enceladus’ subsurface [5].

Here, we use numerical simulations to determine the effects of a porous layer on the two-way radar attenuation. We generate a variety of steady-state one-dimensional thermal models based on proposed parameters for Enceladus’ ice shell thickness (5 - 35 km, [6]), porous layer thickness (0 - 700 m [4]) and its thermal conductivity (0.1 - 0.001 W/mK [7,8]). In addition to systematically testing parameter combinations, we use two ice shell thickness maps [6] together with local thermal profiles to provide a global spatial distribution of potential penetration depths that could be achieved by radar measurements. We use two material models ("high" and "low" loss) to identify the impact of chemical impurities on attenuation [9]. While the “low” loss scenario considers an ice shell composed of pure water ice, the “high” loss case is characterized by a homogeneous mixture of water ice and chlorides in concentrations extrapolated from the particle composition of Enceladus’ plume [5].

Our results show that the presence of a porous layer has a first-order effect on the two-way radar attenuation. For regions covered by porous layers with thicknesses larger than 250 m and a thermal conductivity lower than 0.025 W/(mK) the two-way radar attenuation reaches a threshold value of 100 dB before reaching the ice-ocean interface in the low loss scenarios. In the high loss cases, for similar porous layer thicknesses and thermal conductivity, the two-way attenuation remains below 100 dB for at most 48% of the ice shell. Depending on the local ice shell thickness and properties of the snow deposits, as little as a few percent of the ice shell can be penetrated before the 100 dB limit is reached. We note, however, that the presence of a porous layer leads to high subsurface temperatures and promotes the formation of brines at shallow depth that can be detected by future radar measurements.



[1] Choblet et al., 2021. [2] Hansen et al., 2006. [3] Postberg et al., 2008. [4] Martin et al., 2023. [5] Soucek et al., 2023. [6] Hemingway & Mittal, 2019. [7] Seiferlin et al., 1996. [8] Ferrari et al., 2021. [9] Kalousova et al., 2017.

How to cite: Byrne, W., Plesa, A.-C., Rückriemen-Bez, T., Benedikter, A., and Hussmann, H.: The effects of an icy porous layer on the two-way radar attenuation on Enceladus, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-6159,, 2024.

Mass Spectral Properties of Hydrothermally Processed Triglycine (GGG) in Ice Grains Emitted by Enceladus and Europa
Nozair Khawaja, Lucía Hortal Sánchez, Thomas O’Sullivan, Judith Bloema, Maryse Napoleoni, Fabian Klenner, Andreas Beinlich, Jon Hillier, Ralf Srama, and Frank Postberg
Yael Bourgeois, Fabrizio Giordano, Stephanie Cazaux, and Ferry Schrijer

The discovery of vast subsurface oceans hidden under kilometers of ices on icy moons in our Solar System has sparked worldwide interests in ascertaining their potential habitability. In the case of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, supersonic plumes of water vapour and icy grains have been observed by the Cassini mission spewing from the surface, giving us indirect knowledge of the composition of this subsurface ocean. The exact mechanisms of the plumes however, and their effect on the composition of the ejected matter has yet to be clearly understood. The focus of this study is to experimentally investigate physical characteristics of the plumes located at the South Polar Terrain (SPT) of Enceladus. Using facilities at TU Delft faculty, we simulate experimentally the topology of the ice crevasses and the subsurface ocean with a narrow channel mounted atop a liquid water reservoir placed inside a vacuum chamber. We inquire upon the dependence of the channel walls temperature on the plume’s exhaust velocity. Using a straight channel, our results show that colder wall temperatures enable a saturated water vapour flow with a minima 1.5-3 % solid fraction and vent velocities reaching around 400-500 m/s. The data ranges for velocities and solid fraction extrapolated from the Cassini data (550-2000 m/s and 7-70 %) thus cannot be explained by straight channel models. Using a channel with an expansion ratio of 1.73 however, the measured supersonic plume velocity becomes comparable to some of the in situ Mach number determined at Enceladus. Using a method based on the energy conservation law, it is possible to extrapolate from our experimental data some plausible geometries of the ice crevasses of Enceladus. This work lays the ground work for a coming comprehensive parametric study of the channel geometry and its effect on exhaust Mach number, temperature and solid fraction.

How to cite: Bourgeois, Y., Giordano, F., Cazaux, S., and Schrijer, F.: The Leaky Cauldron; an experimental study of the icy plumes of Enceladus, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-20219,, 2024.

Taruna Parihar, Hauke Hussmann, Kai Wickhusen, Gabriel Caritá, Alexander Stark, Jürgen Oberst, Andreas Benedikter, Eduardo Rodrigues Silva Filho, Jalal Matar, and Roman Galas

Saturn's moon Enceladus gained limelight with the discovery by the Cassini spacecraft of plumes of ejected gas and ice particles from pronounced linear structures in its South Pole region called “Tiger Stripes". The small (500 km) satellite is believed to have a porous rocky core and an ice shell, separated by a global subsurface saltwater ocean. The tidal heating potentially aids in driving chemical reactions in the moon’s interior which makes it a very promising candidate where the right conditions for life formation may exist. This makes Enceladus a prime target for a future spacecraft remote sensing mission. Due to the strong gravitational perturbations caused by Saturn, the higher gravitational moments of Enceladus and additional perturbations by the other moons of Saturn, the dynamic environment for artificial satellites around Enceladus is extremely complex. As a consequence, the search for natural stable orbits is far from trivial. We carried out comprehensive numerical integrations of spacecraft orbits, with the aim to find suitable candidate orbits for a remote sensing mission. A polar orbit is desirable to further investigate the tiger stripes region, and for mapping of the global subsurface ocean. Also, the orbit should provide repeated coverage for various instruments on board the satellite. All the relevant perturbations caused by the Sun, Jupiter, Saturn and its other moons, the higher degrees and order of Enceladus’ gravity field and solar radiation pressure are taken into account. We searched for suitable orbits in inertial space by varying orbital parameters such as semi-major axis (350 to 450 km), inclination (40° to 120°) and longitude of ascending node. Moderately inclined orbits (inclination between 45° and 60°) covering the equatorial and mid-latitude regions of Enceladus were found to be stable from several months up to years. In contrast, the more useful polar mapping orbits were found to be extremely unstable due to the so-called “Kozai mechanism”, due to which a spacecraft would impact the moon’s surface within a few days. However, an example of a highly inclined orbit was found with inclination of approximately 79°, which had an orbital life time of 13 days. A longer mission in this orbit would require correction maneuvers every approximately 10 days. This would provide coverage of the tiger stripes region and allow for a global characterization of the ocean. We also determined the delta-v that would be necessary to maintain such an orbit over a mission of several months. Also, special attention was paid to satellite formation flying in this orbit to maintain a stable baseline for a distributed radar sounder system (across-track formation of multiple satellites).

How to cite: Parihar, T., Hussmann, H., Wickhusen, K., Caritá, G., Stark, A., Oberst, J., Benedikter, A., Rodrigues Silva Filho, E., Matar, J., and Galas, R.: Numerical analysis of polar orbits for future Enceladus missions, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-17668,, 2024.

Conor Nixon, Bruno Bézard, Thomas Cornet, Brandon Coy, Imke de Pater, Maël Es-Sayeh, Heidi Hammel, Emmanuel Lellouch, Juan Lora, Nicholas Lombardo, Manuel López-Puertas, Pascal Rannou, Sébastien Rodriguez, Nicholas Teanby, and Elizabeth Turtle and the Titan JWST and Keck Observation Team

Titan is an object of fascination for scientists researching the solar system, as a ‘terrestrial-like’ world with active meteorology and fluvial and lacustrine formations based on methane chemistry and condensation. The Cassini-Huygens mission explored Titan extensively from 2004 to 2017, but since that time further observation of its slow seasonal cycle has been possible only via telescopes positioned on or close to the Earth. Titan’s unique characteristics led to a concerted post-Cassini observational campaign, with many of the most powerful telescopes available to astronomy. In this work we report on observations from 2022 & 2023 with three instruments on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), NIRCam, NIRSpec and MIRI, also in coordination with imaging from Keck II. In November 2022 and July 2023, Titan was the subject of multi-spectral filter imaging with JWST NIRCam and Keck II NIRC2, revealing tropospheric clouds at mid-northern latitudes, in line with climate modeling predictions for this season (late northern summer). In filters sensitive to the upper troposphere, we observed clouds growing and apparently ascending in altitude during a Titan day. JWST NIRSpec spectroscopy yielded for the first time a high resolution (R=2700) spectrum of Titan across the entire near-infrared (1-5 microns) unobscured by telluric absorption. This, among other things, enabled measuring the detailed structure of the CO 4.7 micron non-LTE emission, including the fundamental, the first two overtone bands and two isotopic bands. It is also the first time that CO2 emission has been resolved in the NIR and the first time it has been seen on Titan’s dayside.  Finally, very sensitive spectroscopy with JWST MIRI in the mid infrared (5-28 microns) confirmed the many stratospheric gases seen by Cassini CIRS, but also added a new detection of methyl (CH3) in the middle atmosphere, a product of methane photochemistry that was expected but not previously seen. We modeled parts of the spectra to find a global mean temperature profile and profiles of minor gases. Soon we hope to extract yet more results from the NIRSpec and MIRI spectra as our understanding of the calibration and modeling progresses. In this presentation we summarize our results to date and describe planned future observations of Titan with JWST and Keck cycles.

How to cite: Nixon, C., Bézard, B., Cornet, T., Coy, B., de Pater, I., Es-Sayeh, M., Hammel, H., Lellouch, E., Lora, J., Lombardo, N., López-Puertas, M., Rannou, P., Rodriguez, S., Teanby, N., and Turtle, E. and the Titan JWST and Keck Observation Team: Titan in Late Northern Summer from JWST and Keck Observations, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-2392,, 2024.

Athena Coustenis, Therese Encrenaz, Thomas K. Greathouse, David Jacquemart, Rohini Giles, Conor A. Nixon, Panayotis Lavvas, Nicholas Lombardo, Sandrine Vinatier, Bruno Bezard, Krim Lahouari, Pascale Soulard, Benoit Tremblay, Antoine Jolly, and Brendan Steffens

The atmosphere of Titan is known to be a laboratory of complex organic chemistry. (Coustenis, 2021) From the Voyager missions, and later the Cassini-Huygens mission, several hydrocarbons and nitriles have been detected and their seasonal variations have been monitored during a period of one Titan season (30 years). Other minor species have been detected from the ground mainly in the millimeter range or using space-borne observatories like ISO. These results have been included in photochemical models that have also predicted the presence of other minor species, among which some have infrared transitions in the 5-25-µm spectral range where propane (C3H8) and allene (CH2CCH2) have already been detected. We have started an observing program using the TEXES thermal infrared imaging spectrometer at the Infrared Telescope Facility (Mauna Kea Observatory) to monitor the infrared signatures of hydrogen cyanide (HCN) and cyanoacetylene (HC3N), along with acetylene (C2H2 and C2HD). In addition, we have been searching for cyanopropyne (C4H3N) and isobutyronitrile (C4H7N) in the 20-micron region. High-resolution spectra of Titan with TEXES were recorded before where Lombardo et al. (2019) measured HNC (hydrogen isocyanide) in Titan’s lower stratosphere (1 ppb around 100 km), which is the first time HNC has been measured at these altitudes.  In September 2022 we obtained spectra of Titan in the following spectral ranges: (1) 498-500 cm-1 (C2HD, HC3N, search for C4H3N); (2) 537-540 cm-1 (C2HD, search for C4H7N); (3) 744-749 cm-1 (C2H2, HCN); (4) 1244-1250 cm-1 (CH4). Observations are presently being processed. In 2023, laboratory spectra of cyanopropyne and isobutyronitrile have been recorded at Sorbonne Université in the 495-505 cm-1 and 510-570 cm-1 spectral ranges, respectively, with a spectral resolution of 0.01 cm-1 and 0.056 cm-1 (Coustenis et al., 2023). Cross sections have been derived for these two molecules and upper limits will be derived for these two molecules in the atmosphere of Titan. TEXES data will also be used for a study of the variations of HCN and HC3N since the end of the Cassini mission, and for a retrieval of D/H from C2HD/C2H2.


  • Coustenis, A., 2021. “The Atmosphere of Titan”. In Read, P. (Ed.), Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Planetary Science. Oxford University Press. doi:
  • Lombardo, N.A., Nixon, C.A., Greathouse, T.K., Bézard, B., Jolly, A., Vinatier, S., Teanby, N.A.A, Richter, M.J., Irwin, P.J.G., Coustenis, A., Flasar, F.M., 2019. Detection of propadiene on Titan. Astroph. J. Lett. 881, Issue 2, article id. L33, 6 pp.
  • Coustenis, A., Nixon, C. A., Encrenaz, Th., Lavvas, P., 2023. Titan’s chemical composition from Cassini and ground-based measurements. IUGG 2023, Berlin, Germany, 11-20 July.

How to cite: Coustenis, A., Encrenaz, T., Greathouse, T. K., Jacquemart, D., Giles, R., Nixon, C. A., Lavvas, P., Lombardo, N., Vinatier, S., Bezard, B., Lahouari, K., Soulard, P., Tremblay, B., Jolly, A., and Steffens, B.: Ground-based monitoring of atmospheric species on Titan and a search for new nitriles with IRTF/TEXES, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-5965,, 2024.

Nikita Jennifer Boeren, Peter Keresztes Schmidt, Marek Tulej, Peter Wurz, and Andreas Riedo

In the search for life beyond Earth, the icy moons Europa and Enceladus have been brought forward as the most promising targets within our Solar System. Recently, the Enceladus Orbilander mission has gained significant interest as it has been selected as a NASA flagship mission1. This emphasises the need for reliable in-situ instrumentation capable of biosignature detection and identification.

In-situ instrumentation must not only meet flight-capability requirements, but the detection capabilities should extend beyond single molecules or compound groups. Various groups of compounds are listed to be of astrobiological interest, such as amino acids, lipids, and nucleobases1–3. Ideally, instruments should be capable of simultaneously detecting several different compound groups, in varying abundances from major components down to trace level. Therefore, to successfully detect both trace abundances and highly abundant compounds, a high sensitivity and wide dynamic range coverage are essential as well.

This contribution will provide a comprehensive overview of the ORIGIN (ORganics Information Gathering INstrument) space-prototype, a Laser Desorption Ionisation Mass Spectrometer (LDI-MS), designed for the in-situ detection of molecular biosignatures. ORIGIN's light-weight and robust design, includes a nanosecond pulsed laser system (λ=266 nm, 20 Hz, τ=3 ns) and a miniature reflectron-type Time-Of-Flight mass analyser (RTOF) (160 mm x Ø 60 mm)4. The instrument is designed to address the challenges of flight-capability, sensitivity, and dynamic range coverage, which are all essential for reliable biosignature detection on exploration missions.

ORIGIN's analytical capabilities have been demonstrated for amino acids and lipids, and have recently been extended to nucleobases4-6. We will discuss results of the recent experiments to give an overview of ORIGIN’s detection capabilities including sensitivity and dynamic range, which are crucial for future space exploration missions. The determined limit of detection for three lipids (∼7×10−13 mol μL−1) aligns with the specified requirements in the Enceladus Orbilander mission concept (1×10−12 mol μL−1)3,6. The application of ORIGIN towards the detection of biosignatures on icy moons and the envisioned concept of ice sample handling will also be discussed.

1. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Origins, Worlds, Life: A Decadal Strategy for Planetary Science and Astrobiology 2023-2032. 26522 (The National Academies Press, 2022). doi:10.17226/26522.
2. Hand, K. P. et al. Report of the Europa Lander Science Definition Team. (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 2017).
3. MacKenzie, S. et al. Enceladus Orbilander: A Flagship Mission Concept for the Planetary Decadal Survey. vol. 2020 (John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, 2020).
4. Ligterink, N. F. W. et al. ORIGIN: a novel and compact Laser Desorption – Mass Spectrometry system for sensitive in situ detection of amino acids on extraterrestrial surfaces. Sci. Rep. 10, 9641 (2020).
5. Boeren, N. J. et al. Detecting Lipids on Planetary Surfaces with Laser Desorption Ionization Mass Spectrometry. Planet. Sci. J. 3, 241 (2022).
6. Boeren N.J. et al. Laser Desorption Ionization Mass Spectrometry of Nucleobases for Future Space Exploration Missions, Planet. Sci. J., to be submitted.

How to cite: Boeren, N. J., Keresztes Schmidt, P., Tulej, M., Wurz, P., and Riedo, A.: Towards biosignature detection on Icy Moons with ORIGIN, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-16084,, 2024.