Sarah Chinski



AY 108

Interests: Icy satellites, simulations, geodynamics



2020: B.A. Physics with emphasis in Astronomy, Macalester College


I’m a 3rd year graduate student interested in the dynamics of icy satellites, and I work with Dr. Wladimir Lyra on creating 3D models of convection in Europa’s ice shell. We are adapting a well established code called ASPECT: the Advanced Solver for Planetary Evolution, Convection, and Tectonics. ASPECT was originally developed to model Earth’s mantle convection, but by adjusting key parameters like temperature and viscosity, we can model the complicated processes of convection within the water ice shells of moons like Europa or Enceladus. Our goal for this project is to further constrain the thickness of Europa’s ice shell, which is highly debated and a main science objective of the upcoming Europa Clipper mission. We also hope to do some analysis of the resulting surface features, like trying to reproduce different terrain observed on the surface, though the resolution will be our limiting factor here. 


You also may have seen me TA for various courses in the department: Revolutionary Ideas in Astronomy, Life in the Universe, Intro to Astronomy (1115), and The Planets (1120) are some of my personal favorites!