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Steve is an astrobiologist and geophysicist studying the workings of icy ocean worlds. After obtaining his PhD in Geophysics and Astrobiology from the University of Washington, in Seattle, Dr. Vance came to JPL as a NASA Postdoctoral Fellow. He joined JPL as a staff scientist in 2010. He is currently supervisor for Planetary Interiors and Geophysics Group (3226).
Steve studies the interiors of icy bodies like Jupiter's moon, Europa, drawing primarily on expertise in the chemistry and thermodynamics of materials at high pressures. Steve's work address questions of ocean composition, dynamics, and habitability through simulations of icy world ocean chemistry in the laboratory, coupled with theoretical models of fluid circulation in deep oceans. Major aims of this work are to be able to determine chemical signatures of habitability that may make their way to their host body's surface, and to enable joint inversions of spacecraft geophysical measurements to understand interior composition, structure, and dynamics.