The exploration of the outer solar system by Galileo at Jupiter, Cassini-Huygens at Saturn, and New Horizons at Pluto-Charon, has revealed that several icy worlds harbor a subsurface salty ocean underneath their cold icy surface. By flying through the icy-vapor plume erupting from Enceladus' south pole, Cassini proceeded for the first time to the analysis of fresh materials coming from an extraterrestrial ocean, revealing its astrobiological potentials. Even if there is no direct evidence yet, similar oceanic habitats might also be present within Europa, Ganymede and Titan, which will be characterized by future missions currently under development for the exploration of icy Galilean moons (JUICE, Europa Clipper) and of Saturn’s moon Titan (Dragonfly).
Understanding these icy ocean worlds and their connections with smaller icy moons and rings requires input from a variety of scientific disciplines: planetary geology and geophysics, atmospheric physics, life sciences, magnetospheric environment, space weathering, as well as supporting laboratory studies, numerical simulations, preparatory studies for future missions and technology developments in instrumentation and engineering. We welcome abstracts that span this full breadth of disciplines required for the characterization and future exploration of icy worlds and ring system.