"Diverse Icy Worlds"

montage diversite mondes

This theme deals specifically with the study of the Solar System's icy bodies, particularly the moons of Jupiter and Saturn and the dwarf planets Pluto and Ceres, and combines observation, experimentation and modelling. Over the course of the past decade, there has been a significant increase in the study of icy bodies thanks to the NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini-Huygens mission, which was in orbit around Saturn between 2004 and 2017. This mission revealed that the moons of Saturn, particularly Titan and Enceladus, were home to levels of activity that were even more rich and intense than had previously been imagined. The period between 2017 and 2021 is set to be of vital importance, with the end of the Cassini-Huygens mission and preparatory work to begin on major missions aiming to explore the Jupiter system (ESA JUICE, NASA Europa Clipper) in the future. Furthermore, the original data collected as part of the NASA DAWN and New Horizons missions investigating the dwarf planets Ceres and Pluto, in addition to the identification of an increasing number of planets with large quantities of water in orbit around other stars, is opening up new application scopes. Within this theme, comparisons are being drawn with similar icy terrains on Earth and Mars in conjunction with the “Planet Earth” and “Terrestrial planets” themes.

Over the course of this 2017-2021 period, research within this particular theme will focus on two key areas. The first of these will concern the exploitation of spatial data (primarily Cassini-Huygens, but also Galileo for the Jupiter system) and preparatory work on future missions, with Titan, Enceladus, Europa and Ganymede identified as key topics of study. The second will deal with the characterisation of processes that have an impact on the evolution of icy bodies as part of a comparative approach, focusing on a wide variety of objects ranging from small satellites such as Enceladus to large ocean-planets expected to be discovered around other stars.


Research projects linked to "Diverse Icy Worlds":

> ANR OASIS (2017-2021) – LPG (Nantes, coordinator: G. Tobie), partner laboratories: ISTerre (Grenoble), CRPG (Nancy)

> Paris scientifiques – Région Pays de la Loire – EXPRODIL (2017-2020) - LTEN, Poly’Tech Nantes (coordinator: C. Castellain), partner laboratories: LPG (Nantes), LMJL (Nantes)

> CNES Cassini (AA-SO2 VIMS/CASSINI), JUICE, Europa Clipper (2017-2021)