Sahan Jayasinghe came to the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) to do his PhD, and he was blown away by the opportunities. He became an astrobiologist and is exploring the possibility of life on Jupiter’s frozen moons by looking into sea diatoms- little single-celled algae that live inside ice.

Here's why this is the coolest PhD project you'll ever hear about.

1. Awesome equipment

IMAS is a world-leading institute, with cutting-edge equipment and expertise. For Sahan, he was able to learn from the best, with the most awesome resources.

“I’ve had so many opportunities that I never thought I’d have. I got to play with some really expensive equipment during my undergrad that you would normally never get to touch.”

2. The possibility of finding alien life (seriously)

“It might seem like a strange fit with Antarctic and marine science, but scientists believe that if life were to exist in space it would probably exist within the briny networks, channels and fractures in the icy shells of Jupiter’s frozen moons, like Europa,” he said.

“Who isn’t fascinated by space? When I was a kid I thought I was going to be the first astronaut to go to Mars or something.”

3. A community of amazing, like-minded science fanatics

“Everyone is in the one building, you know where your lecturer’s office is, and if you’ve got a problem you can go out for a coffee and talk about your issues. It’s a really tight-knit community.”

4. It’s cool…literally

Sahan got a Colombo Plan Scholarship, which gave him the chance to attend an amazing IMAS student study program in Japan.

“In Hokkaido I learned more about the inner structure of sea ice, and got to see the brine channels in the sea ice in real life. Sea ice in the lab is not exactly the same as sea ice in nature. To see it in nature and actually walk on it was incredible.”

5. Studying in the gateway to the Antarctic

“I got into a few universities, but with Hobart having a really big international reputation, more marine scientists than any other city, and being the gateway to Antarctica, it was the perfect place to do it in Australia.

“There’s no other university in the country where you can actively study an Antarctic science course.”

Apply now to study your research degree at the University of Tasmania.