Searching a windscoop, ANSMET,2010-11
Sampling iceberg, AMASE, 2010
Mauna Kea, HI, 2010



© Inge Loes ten Kate



Dr. (ir.) Inge Loes ten Kateik

Department of Earth Sciences
Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University

i.l.tenkate <at> ; science <at>

For my full CV, please click here.


Voor antwoorden op veelgestelde vragen over MSL - Curiosity en alle blogs klik hier (in het Nederlands).


Short biography

2012 - present Researcher Department of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University, the Netherlands
2011 - 2012 Visiting researcher Centre for Physics of Geological Processes, Oslo University, Norway
2006 - 2011 Assistant Research Scientist University of Maryland, Baltimore County & NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, USA
2006 Postdoc Leiden Institute of Chemistry, Leiden University, the Netherlands
2000 - 2006 PhD Leiden Observatory (Astronomy), Leiden University, the Netherlands
2000 - 2001 Research Engineer National Aerospace Laboratory, NLR, the Netherlands
1993 - 1999 MS Aerospace Engineering, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands


About me

My fascination with all things space started at an early age. When I was about 6 I decided that I wanted to "do something with" space, so my elementary school time was filled with presentations about the Space Shuttle, astronauts and the Solar System. At age 10 we had to write an essay on "what do you want to be when you grow up", and mine was titled: "I want to study Aerospace Engineering and then I want to go work for NASA".

In highschool I decided to broaden my view and chose a curriculum that not only prepared me for engineering school, but also contained 5 languages, including Latin and Greek, because I realized that this probably would be my only change to study the Classics.

However, after graduating, I indeed went to Delft University of Technology to get my Master's degree in Aerospace Engineering, with a thesis on "aerocapture manoeuvres around Mars". As much as I enjoyed these studies, I realized that, now I knew how to get to Mars, I was much more interested in what is actually happening on the surface of Mars.

That's why I moved to Leiden University to start my PhD with Pascale Ehrenfreund at the Leiden Observatory (Astronomy Department). The main focus of my thesis was on the destruction of amino acids on the Martian surface. During this study I developed several experimental simulation facilities together with my colleagues.

During the course of my graduate work I got more and more interested in the development of in situ instrumentation, especially organic detection instruments, because studying organic processes is much more satifying if you can actually go out and look for them on Mars.

After defending my thesis I got the opportunity to work at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in the SAM (Sample Anaysis at Mars) team, with Paul Mahaffy. There I got involved in the contamination control work for SAM and joined the team that is currently developing VAPoR, a pyrolysis mass spectrometer (a simplefied version of SAM) for deployment on future lunar and asteroid missions..

With 4.5 years of expertise in the field of instrument development, I realized that organics on Mars need much more study than has been done so far, especially in the light of upcoming and future missions that will look for organics as possible biomarkers.

Now, I'm back at academia working on answering all my scientific questions about organics on Mars and the Early Earth.