Keynote Speakers

Dr. Morgan Cable

Dr. Cable is the Science Lead for the Exobiology Extant Life Surveyor (EELS) concept and Co-Deputy PI of the Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry (PIXL) Instrument aboard the Mars 2020 (Perseverance) rover. She has worked on the Cassini Mission, is a Co-Investigator of the Dragonfly mission to Titan, and is serving multiple roles on Europa Clipper. She was recently appointed as a CIFAR Fellow for the Earth 4D: Subsurface Science and Exploration Program. She previously served as the Ocean Worlds Program Area Scientist for the Planetary Mission Formulation Office, and as supervisor of the Astrobiology and Ocean Worlds Group. Morgan’s research focuses on organic and biomarker detection, through both in situ and remote sensing techniques. She has designed receptor sites for the detection of bacterial spores, the toughest form of life, and developed novel protocols to analyze organic molecules using small, portable microfluidic sensors. Currently Dr. Cable performs laboratory experiments to study the unique organic chemistry of Titan. She and colleagues were the first to discover minerals made exclusively of organics that may exist on Titan’s surface. Morgan also conducts fieldwork in extreme environments on Earth, searching for life in places such as the Atacama Desert, ice fields at the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, nutrient-limited lakes at the base of Wind Cave (the densest cave system in the world) in South Dakota, fumarole-generated ice caves of the Mount Meager Volcano in Canada, and lava fields of Iceland.

Talk title: There and Back Again: A Scientist’s Tale of Discovery in the Search for Life and Interesting Chemistry

Dr. Jonathan Lunine

Dr. Lunine is the David C. Duncan Professor in the Physical Sciences and Chair of the Department of Astronomy at Cornell University. Lunine is interested in how planets form and evolve, what processes maintain and establish habitability, and what kinds of exotic environments (methane lakes, etc.) might host a kind of chemistry sophisticated enough to be called "life". He pursues these interests through theoretical modeling and participation in spacecraft missions. He works with the radar and other instruments on Cassini, continues to work on mass spectrometer data from Huygens, and is co-investigator on the Juno mission launched in 2011 to Jupiter. He is on the science team for the James Webb Space Telescope, focusing on characterization of extrasolar planets and Kuiper Belt objects. Lunine is currently PI for a JPL-led study to send a probe into Saturn's atmosphere, and has contributed to mission concept studies for space-based astrometry and microlensing missions. Lunine is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has participated in or chaired a number of advisory and strategic planning committees for the Academy and for NASA.

Talk title: How I became a Scientist and Exploration of the the Solar System's Ocean Worlds as a Scientific and Social Imperative