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Earth 4D: Subsurface Science & Exploration

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How do we understand the life, groundwater and environments deep below the surface of a planet?

Beneath our feet is a vast, unexplored world consisting of up to tens of kilometres of thick crust containing water, gases, nutrients, resources, and various forms of life.

So far we investigated only a tiny fraction of the Earth’s subsurface, although it contains critical information needed to understand the complexities of chemical, physical and biological interactions on the Earth’s surface – and our everyday world. Investigating the interactions between the subsurface and the surface on Earth, the only planet we have ready access to, will inform and expand our understanding of planetary evolution and the possibility of finding life on other planets and moons in our solar system – and beyond.

The Earth 4D program’s multidisciplinary team focuses on the themes of water, life and space, with time as a fourth theme and overarching lens. No other research group has formalized this broad, disruptive approach and built a diverse intellectual community committed to tackling this challenge.

Detailed Program Description for Applicants to the CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars Program, 2021-2023

Path to Societal Impact

We invite experts in industry, civil society, healthcare and government to join fellows in our Earth 4D: Subsurface Science & Exploration program for in-depth, cross-sectoral conversations that drive change and innovation.

Experts from academia, industry, and international space agencies and CIFAR fellows in the Earth 4D program are developing the science, technology, and requirements for Mars missions to understand the limits of habitability.

Areas of focus:

  • Accessing information about water kilometres under the surface of planets, both in our own solar system and elsewhere
  • Developing international mission architectures for subsurface Mars exploration 

Do you want to shape the future of subterranean planetary exploration? 

Contact: Fiona Cunningham, Director of Innovation

Founded In

2019

Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Earth & Planetary Sciences
Geology
Environmental Science
Geochemistry, including isotope geochemistry and bio-geochemistry
Astrobiology
Geobiology
Hydrogeology
Microbiology
Planetary and environmental modelling
Minerology
Astronolmy
Planetary evolution

Fellows & Advisors

Program Directors

John Mustard

Program Co-Director

Earth 4D: Subsurface Science & Exploration
Brown University
United States

Barbara Sherwood Lollar

Program Co-Director

Earth 4D: Subsurface Science & Exploration
University of Toronto
Canada
Fellows

Chris Ballentine

Fellow

Earth 4D: Subsurface Science & Exploration
University of Oxford
United Kingdom

Heather Graham

Fellow

Earth 4D: Subsurface Science & Exploration
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
United States

Jennifer McIntosh

Fellow

Earth 4D: Subsurface Science & Exploration
University of Arizona
United States

Joseph Michalski

Fellow

Earth 4D: Subsurface Science & Exploration
University of Hong Kong
China

Victoria J. Orphan

Fellow

Earth 4D: Subsurface Science & Exploration
California Institute of Technology
United States

Magdalena R. Osburn

Fellow

Earth 4D: Subsurface Science & Exploration
Northwestern University
United States

Nigel J.T. Smith

Fellow

Earth 4D: Subsurface Science & Exploration
Laurentian University
SNOLAB
Canada

Vlada Stamenkovic

Fellow

Earth 4D: Subsurface Science & Exploration
California Institute of Technology
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
United States
Advisors

Jan Amend

Advisory Committee Chair

Earth 4D: Subsurface Science & Exploration
University of Southern California
United States

Fumio Inagaki

Advisor

Earth 4D: Subsurface Science & Exploration
Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC)
Japan

Jeffrey McDonnell

Advisor

Earth 4D: Subsurface Science & Exploration
University of Saskatchewan
Canada

Bénédicte Ménez

Advisor

Earth 4D: Subsurface Science & Exploration
Paris Diderot University
France
CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars

Jacqueline Goordial

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars 2021-2023

Earth 4D: Subsurface Science & Exploration
University of Guelph
Canada

Timothy Goudge

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars 2021-2023

Earth 4D: Subsurface Science & Exploration
University of Texas at Austin
United States

Jihua Hao

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars 2021-2023

Earth 4D: Subsurface Science & Exploration
University of Science and Technology of China
China

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Support Us

CIFAR is a registered charitable organization supported by the governments of Canada, Alberta and Quebec, as well as foundations, individuals, corporations and Canadian and international partner organizations.

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