Bob Pappalardo is the Project Scientist for the Europa Clipper, NASA's upcoming mission to investigate the habitability of Jupiter's icy moon Europa. This month, as part of World Ocean Month, we introduce you to Bob, and our many explorers studying the oceans on Earth, throughout our solar system, and beyond.
Josh Willis: Oceanographer
"I fell in love with the ocean and with the idea of doing science about climate change and how the planet's climate is now being impacted by human activity. It took me falling out of physics to figure out what I was really passionate about, and it turned out it was climate change."
"The core scientific objective of my team is to improve forecasts of regional, relative sea-level change. This means improving our understanding of how the sea level is going to change in the future. "
"The ocean, the atmosphere, the ice, the land, they all interact. This is a big complex machine that we're trying to understand."
Steve is an astrobiologist and geophysicist studying the workings of icy, ocean worlds like Jupiter's moon, Europa.
Tribute to a Trailblazer
Michael Freilich had a passion for the ocean. He was director of the Earth Science Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters from 2006 until his retirement in February 2019. Mike helped drive the evolution of NASA Earth science from a program that launched an Earth-observing space mission every few years to one that launches several missions each year. Mike died Aug. 5, 2020, of pancreatic cancer. NASA and its partners have renamed a new ocean observation satellite in his honor – it will now be known as Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich.
In her JPL lab, Morgan mixes extremely cold liquids and gases to create “mini-Titan lakes.” She's also a collaborator on the imaging spectrometer that will fly on the JPL-led Europa Clipper mission.
"Not all oceanographers spend their time out on the seas ... I study the world's ocean from my computer, using data from a series of NASA satellites that orbit Earth."
Julie specializes in water-rich objects and is currently focused on dwarf planet Ceres, the exploration of small bodies with small spacecraft, and the formulation of reactive missions to long-period comets.