Earth 4D: Subsurface Science & Exploration
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.
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
Earth & Planetary Sciences
Geochemistry, including isotope geochemistry and bio-geochemistry
Planetary and environmental modelling
Fellows & Advisors
CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars
She is making sure we can trust future claims of alien life by thinking about how life forms might evolve differently on...Feb 3, 2021
University of Toronto geochemist is the 2019 recipient of the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Enginee...May 6, 2019
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.