University of Hawaii Instutute for Astronomy
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IfA Publications

Maintained by LG

For immediate release
February 25, 2008


Dr. Gareth Wynn-Williams
Institute for Astronomy
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Honolulu, Hawaii 96822

Mrs. Karen Rehbock
Assistant to the Director
Institute for Astronomy
University of Hawaii at Manoa



Scientists to Explain "Origins of Oceans"

Comet Halley
Some of the water on Earth came from comets. Photo of Comet Halley courtesy of NASA and the National Space Science Data Center.

Where does water come from? How did water get to Earth? Do other planets have oceans? These are some of the questions that the next Frontiers of Astronomy Community Event, “Origins of Oceans,” will attempt to answer. This discussion among scientists from several disciplines will take place at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, March 3 in the Art Building Auditorium on the University of Hawaii Manoa campus.

The event is suitable for anyone who has an interest in science or is curious about the ocean. Admission is free.

The scientists who will be participating include Dr. Robert Jedicke, an astronomer with the UH Institute for Astronomy, Dr. Karen Meech, an astrobiologist and head of the NASA Astrobiology Institute at UH, Dr. Stephen Mojzsis, a geologist at the University of Colorado, UH oceanographer Dr. Michael Mottl, and Dr. Torrence Johnson, a planetary scientist based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA.

The event is sponsored by the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy and the UH NASA Astrobiology Institute. It is being held in conjunction with a major scientific workshop, "Origins of Water," hosted by the UH NASA Astrobiology Lead Team on Molokai February 27 through March 1.

The origin of water and organics on Earth and the other terrestrial planets is one of the most fundamental unanswered questions about the early solar system. The location of the regions within the nascent solar system that may have fed water-rich material to Earth during its formation is being debated intensely. These issues are at the forefront of the interdisciplinary field of astrobiology. Some of the world's top researchers in this field will attend the Molokai workshop. Topics will include ices in space, delivery of water to our planet, and geochemical evidence from deep within Earth's mantle.

Event web page:

Campus map:

More about the Molokai workshop: and

Founded in 1967, the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa conducts research into galaxies, cosmology, stars, planets, and the sun. Its faculty and staff are also involved in astronomy education, deep space missions, and in the development and management of the observatories on Haleakala and Mauna Kea.

Established in 1907 and fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the University of Hawaii is the state's sole public system of higher education. The UH System provides an array of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees and community programs on 10 campuses and through educational, training, and research centers across the state. UH enrolls more than 50,000 students from Hawaii, the U.S. mainland, and around the world.

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