Exploring Ocean Worlds

The SURP Speaker Exchange Program with the joint UCLA/ UC Berkeley Planetary Science Seminar Series, in collaboration with JPL

Please make sure that you have opened your Zoom app using your browser, and that you have checked to make sure that it is up to date. Once you have done that, use the link  you have any difficulty in linking, the UCLA Zoom link is https://ucla.zoom.us/j/94657911322 and use the Passcode “washhands” (all lower case with no intervening blanks)


Abstract: Our solar system is host to multiple ocean worlds - planets and moons that contain oceans of liquid, usually water, either on their surfaces or underneath icy crusts. These worlds are prime targets of exploration due to NASA’s quest to ‘follow the water’ and may contain all three ingredients for life as we know it - water, chemistry, and energy. Could life exist in the oceans of Enceladus or Europa? Could even stranger life have emerged in the liquid methane lakes of Titan? We will cover our current state of knowledge of these ocean worlds, and discuss some current missions and future mission concepts to explore their plumes, surfaces, and ocean depths.

Speaker biography: Dr. Morgan Cable is the Ocean Worlds Program Scientist for Formulation at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. She worked on the Cassini Mission as a Project Science Systems Engineer, and is currently a Co-Investigator on the Dragonfly Mission to Saturn’s moon Titan and a Collaborator on the Europa Clipper Mission.

Morgan’s research focuses on organic and biomarker detection, through both in situ and remote sensing techniques. While earning her Ph.D. in Chemistry at Caltech, she designed receptor sites for the detection of bacterial spores, the toughest form of life. As a NASA Postdoctoral Fellow at JPL, Morgan developed novel protocols to analyze organic molecules such as amines and fatty acids using small, portable microfluidic sensors. Currently Dr. Cable performs laboratory experiments to study the unique organic chemistry of Titan, a moon of Saturn. She and colleagues were the first to discover a co-crystal, the equivalent of a ‘hydrated mineral’, made exclusively of organics that may exist on Titan’s surface. This work has led to the inception of a new field, Titan ‘petrology’. Morgan also conducts field work in extreme environments on Earth, searching for life in places such as the Atacama Desert, the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro and the lava fields in Iceland.

10/07/2020 - 13:00
Morgan Cable
Zoom: https://ucla.zoom.us/j/94657911322?