Kevin Hand

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Location Amphitheater

Gate pass required. Purchase at our Main Gate Welcome Center, (716) 357-6250

Planetary scientist, astrobiologist

Astrobiologist, planetary scientist and 2011 National Geographic Emerging Explorer Kevin Hand’s research focuses on the origin, evolution, and distribution of life in the solar system, with an emphasis on moons of the outer solar system that likely harbor liquid water oceans. These ocean worlds are prime targets in our search for life beyond Earth.

Working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Hand is helping plan a mission to Jupiter's moon Europa to get a closer look at a vast, sub-surface ocean and to see if it harbors any signs of alien life. In an effort to understand the extremes of life on Earth and how habitable other worlds might be, Hand has traveled to the most forbidding environments on Earth — from 87 degrees North in the Arctic to 77 degrees South in Antarctica, to over 19,000 feet above sea level on Mount Kilimanjaro to 12,000 feet deep in the ocean.

Hand is the Pre-Project Scientist for NASA's Europa Lander mission concept and he co-chaired NASA's 2016 Science Definition Team report on the science rationale for searching for signs of life on Europa. From 2011 to 2015 Hand served as Deputy Chief Scientist for Solar System Exploration at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He is also the director of the Ocean Worlds Lab at JPL.

Hand received his bachelor’s from Dartmouth College, and his master’s and doctorate from Stanford University.