Inge Loes ten Kate

Inge Loes ten Kate
Utrecht University | UU · Department of Earth Sciences

PhD

About

112
Publications
46,358
Reads
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Introduction
Inge Loes ten Kate is a senior scientist focusing on astrobiology, with broad experience in planetary science and instrumentation development. Dr. ten Kate helps build global communities, working together in the field of astrobiology, in order to answer the large open questions relating to the origin of life and the potential for life to exist elsewhere in the universe. Dr. ten Kate’s outreach programs engage the public in order to stimulate their curiosity and wonder regarding the universe. She strongly believes in the importance of helping the next generation to form their own opinions based on accessible data, facts, and personal research.
Additional affiliations
April 2012 - present
Utrecht University
Position
  • Researcher
June 2011 - March 2012
University of Oslo
Position
  • Visiting Scientist
September 2006 - May 2011
NASA
Position
  • Assistent Research Scientist
Education
October 2001 - January 2006
Leiden University
Field of study
  • Astronomy
September 1993 - October 1999
Delft University of Technology
Field of study
  • Aerospace Engineering
September 1987 - June 1993
Marnix Gymnasium
Field of study
  • Grammar School

Publications

Publications (112)
Article
Full-text available
Understanding how to catalytically break the C-H bond of aromatic molecules, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), is currently a big challenge and a subject of study in catalysis, astrochemistry, and planetary science. In the latter, the study of the breakdown reaction of PAHs on mineral surfaces is important to understand if PAHs are l...
Article
Radar and spacecraft observations show the permanently shadowed regions around Mercury’s North Pole to contain water ice and complex organic material. One possible source of this material are impacts by interplanetary dust particles (IDPs), asteroids, and comets. We have performed numerical simulations of the dynamical evolution of asteroids and co...
Article
Full-text available
Amino acids and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) belong to the range of organic compounds detected in meteorites. In this study, we tested empirically and theoretically if PAHs are precursors for amino acids in carbonaceous chondrites, as previously suggested. We conducted experiments to synthesize amino acids from fluoranthene (PAH), with a...
Chapter
Prebiotic chemistry has dominated the origins of life (OoL) field to such an extent that often these terms have been used interchangeably. While prebiotic chemistry has benefited from cross-seeding with other disciplines (e.g., biochemistry, biophysics, computational sciences, geosciences), the OoL problem is still primarily a chemical one. The ran...
Article
Full-text available
Density functional theory (DFT) has provided deep atomic-level insights into the adsorption behavior of aromatic molecules on solid surfaces. However, modeling the surface phenomena of large molecules on mineral surfaces with accurate plane wave methods (PW) can be orders of magnitude more computationally expensive than localized atomic orbitals (L...
Article
Context. In the Solar System, minor bodies and dust deliver various materials to planetary surfaces. Several exoplanetary systems are known to host inner and outer belts, analogues of the main asteroid belt and the Kuiper belt, respectively. Aims. We study the possibility that exominor bodies and exodust deliver volatiles and refractories to the ex...
Preprint
In the Solar System, minor bodies and dust deliver various materials to planetary surfaces. Several exoplanetary systems are known to host inner and outer belts, analogues of the main asteroid belt and the Kuiper belt. We study the possibility that exominor bodies and exodust deliver volatiles and refractories to the exoplanets in the system HR8799...
Article
Full-text available
Homochirality is a generic and unique property of all biochemical life, and the fractional circular polarization of light it induces therefore constitutes a potentially unambiguous biosignature. However, while high-quality circular polarimetric spectra can be easily and quickly obtained in the laboratory, accurate measurements in the field are much...
Article
Full-text available
Large polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are an important component of the interstellar medium. PAHs have been identified in the soluble and insoluble matter of carbonaceous chondrites (CCs). Here, we study the evolution of PAHs under conditions relevant to the interiors of asteroids and compare our results to PAHs observed in CCs. We have per...
Article
Full-text available
Photosynthetic eukaryotes show a remarkable variability in photosynthesis, including large differences in light-harvesting proteins and pigment composition. In vivo circular spectropolarimetry enables us to probe the molecular architecture of photosynthesis in a non-invasive and non-destructive way and, as such, can offer a wealth of physiological...
Article
Full-text available
Return of samples from the surface of Mars has been a goal of the international Mars science community for many years. Strategies for the collection of such samples have ranged from “grab and go” acquisition from the surface, to dust collection in the atmosphere, to scientific selection by geologically capable rovers. As comprehension of the comple...
Article
Full-text available
Return of samples from the surface of Mars has been a goal of the international Mars science community for many years. Affirmation by NASA and ESA of the importance of Mars exploration led the agencies to establish the international MSR Objectives and Samples Team (iMOST). The purpose of the team is to re‐evaluate and update the sample‐related scie...
Article
Full-text available
This report requested by the International Mars Exploration Working Group (IMEWG). Return of samples from the surface of Mars has been a goal of the international Mars science community for many years. Affirmation by NASA and ESA of the importance of Mars exploration led the agencies to establish the international MSR Objectives and Samples Team (i...
Preprint
Full-text available
Homochirality is a generic and unique property of all biochemical life and the fractional circular polarization it induces therefore constitutes an unambiguous biosignature. However, while high-quality circular polarimetric spectra can be easily and quickly obtained in the laboratory, accurate measurements in the field are much more challenging due...
Article
Full-text available
Fluoranthene, a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), has been detected on Earth as well as in asteroids and meteorites, and may have played a role in the formation of life. Increasing the ionic strength of aqueous solutions has been observed to lower the fluoranthene solubility, but it is unclear how solution composition controls the release rate...
Book
Full-text available
Executive Summary: Return of samples from the surface of Mars has been a goal of the international Mars science community for many years. Affirmation by NASA and ESA of the importance of Mars exploration led the agencies to establish the international MSR Objectives and Samples Team (iMOST). The purpose of the team is to re-evaluate and update the...
Chapter
Homochirality is an exclusive feature of life on Earth. Although the very basic building blocks of life, such as sugars and amino acids, are common in the universe, they almost exclusively occur in only one enantiomeric form. It is assumed that homochirality is universal for all lives and is therefore a potentially very unambiguous biosignature. Th...
Article
Full-text available
This article describes a new, multi-functional, high-vacuum ice setup that allows to record the in situ and real-time spectra of vacuum UV (VUV)-irradiated non-volatile molecules embedded in a low-temperature (10 K) amorphous solid water environment. Three complementary diagnostic tools—UV-visible (UV-vis) and Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spec...
Article
Full-text available
Spectropolarimetry of intact plant leaves allows to probe the molecular architecture of vegetation photosynthesis in a non-invasive and non-destructive way and, as such, can offer a wealth of physiological information. In addition to the molecular signals due to the photosynthetic machinery, the cell structure and its arrangement within a leaf can...
Article
Full-text available
Given rapid photodissociation and photodegradation, the recently discovered organics in the Martian subsurface and atmosphere were probably delivered in geologically recent times. Possible parent bodies are C-type asteroids, comets, and interplanetary dust particles (IDPs). The dust infall rate was estimated, using different methods, to be between...
Article
Full-text available
Scientists use the Earth as a tool for astrobiology by analyzing planetary field analogues (i.e. terrestrial samples and field sites that resemble planetary bodies in our Solar System). In addition, they expose the selected planetary field analogues in simulation chambers to conditions that mimic the ones of planets, moons and Low Earth Orbit (LEO)...
Article
Triphenylene (C18H12) is a highly symmetric polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) molecule with a ‘fully-benzenoid’ electronic structure. This confers a high chemical stability compared with PAHs of similar size. Although numerous infrared and UV-visible experimental spectroscopic and theoretical studies of a wide range PAHs in an astrophysical con...
Article
Full-text available
Recent measurements of the chemical and isotopic composition of lunar samples indicate that the Moon's bulk composition shows great similarities with the composition of the silicate Earth. Moon formation models that attempt to explain these similarities make a wide variety of assumptions about the properties of the Earth prior to the formation of t...
Article
Full-text available
Methane has been reported repeatedly in the martian atmosphere but its origin remains an obstinate mystery. Possible sources include aqueous alteration of igneous rocks, release from ancient deposits of methane/water ice clathrates, infall from exogenous sources such as background interplanetary dust, or biological activity. All of these sources ar...
Article
Full-text available
Astrobiology is an interdisciplinary scientific field not only focused on the search of extraterrestrial life, but also on deciphering the key environmental parameters that have enabled the emergence of life on Earth. Understanding these physical and chemical parameters is fundamental knowledge necessary not only for discovering life or signs of li...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Methane may be produced in significant amounts from UV photolysis of cometary carbonaceous material [10,11]. Previous work suggests 20% CH 4 yield is likely from cometary carbonaceous material exposed on the martian surface. Flynn [12] found that ~3x more cometary material survives unmelted on Mars than on Earth due to lower infall speed and greate...
Article
Full-text available
Humankind has been interested in space throughout the ages and studies of the universe and our own solar system have been ongoing since the first observations of celestial bodies. In the current era space exploration has provided in situ data for the different bodies in our solar system. To fully comprehend the underlying processes occurring in the...
Article
The detection of biomarkers plays a central role in our effort to establish whether there is, or was, life beyond Earth. In this review, we address the importance of considering mineralogy in relation to the selection of locations and biomarker detection methodologies with characteristics most promising for exploration. We review relevant mineral-b...
Article
Full-text available
The Moon Mars Analog Mission Activities Mauna Kea 2012 (MMAMA 2012) field campaign aimed to assess how effectively an integrated science and engineering rover team operating on a 24-h planning cycle facilitates high-fidelity science products. The science driver of this field campaign was to determine the origin of a glacially-derived deposit: was t...
Article
Full-text available
The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on board the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover is designed to conduct inorganic and organic chemical analyses of the atmosphere and the surface regolith and rocks to help evaluate the past and present habitability potential of Mars at Gale Crater. Central to this task is the development of an inven...
Article
Full-text available
The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on board the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover is designed to conduct inorganic and organic chemical analyses of the atmosphere and the surface regolith and rocks to help evaluate the past and present habitability potential of Mars at Gale Crater. Central to this task is the development of an inven...
Article
Full-text available
To assess the impact of atmospheric aerosols on health, climate, and air traffic, aerosol properties must be measured with fine spatial and temporal sampling. This can be achieved by actively involving citizens and the technology they own to form an atmospheric measurement network. We establish this new measurement strategy by developing and deploy...
Conference Paper
Introduction: Recently methane (CH 4) has been ob-served in the Martian atmosphere from a satellite orbit-ing the planet [1] as well as from Earth based tele-scopes [2]. A significant feature of methane concentra-tions is that they show a substantial time and spatial variation. Detailed recent snapshots measurements by MSL have shown that the conce...
Article
Full-text available
The Curiosity rover discovered fine-grained sedimentary rocks, which are inferred to represent an ancient lake and preserve evidence of an environment that would have been suited to support a martian biosphere founded on chemolithoautotrophy. This aqueous environment was characterized by neutral pH, low salinity, and variable redox states of both i...
Article
Full-text available
Sedimentary rocks examined by the Curiosity rover at Yellowknife Bay, Mars, were derived from sources that evolved from an approximately average martian crustal composition to one influenced by alkaline basalts. No evidence of chemical weathering is preserved, indicating arid, possibly cold, paleoclimates and rapid erosion and deposition. The absen...
Article
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Sedimentary rocks at Yellowknife Bay (Gale crater) on Mars include mudstone sampled by the Curiosity rover. The samples, John Klein and Cumberland, contain detrital basaltic minerals, calcium sulfates, iron oxide or hydroxides, iron sulfides, amorphous material, and trioctahedral smectites. The John Klein smectite has basal spacing of ~10 angstroms...
Article
Full-text available
We determined radiogenic and cosmogenic noble gases in a mudstone on the floor of Gale Crater. A K-Ar age of 4.21 ± 0.35 billion years represents a mixture of detrital and authigenic components and confirms the expected antiquity of rocks comprising the crater rim. Cosmic-ray–produced 3He, 21Ne, and 36Ar yield concordant surface exposure ages of 78...
Article
Full-text available
The ChemCam instrument, which provides insight into martian soil chemistry at the submillimeter scale, identified two principal soil types along the Curiosity rover traverse: a fine-grained mafic type and a locally derived, coarse-grained felsic type. The mafic soil component is representative of widespread martian soils and is similar in compositi...
Article
Full-text available
“Jake_M,” the first rock analyzed by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer instrument on the Curiosity rover, differs substantially in chemical composition from other known martian igneous rocks: It is alkaline (textgreater15% normative nepheline) and relatively fractionated. Jake_M is compositionally similar to terrestrial mugearites, a rock type...
Article
Full-text available
Stable isotope ratios of H, C, and O are powerful indicators of a wide variety of planetary geophysical processes, and for Mars they reveal the record of loss of its atmosphere and subsequent interactions with its surface such as carbonate formation. We report in situ measurements of the isotopic ratios of D/H and O-18/O-16 in water and C-13/C-12,...
Article
Full-text available
Observations by the Mars Science Laboratory Mast Camera (Mastcam) in Gale crater reveal isolated outcrops of cemented pebbles (2 to 40 millimeters in diameter) and sand grains with textures typical of fluvial sedimentary conglomerates. Rounded pebbles in the conglomerates indicate substantial fluvial abrasion. ChemCam emission spectra at one outcro...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Rover-based 2012 Moon and Mars Analog Mission Activities (MMAMA) scientific investigations were recently completed at Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Scientific investigations, scientific input, and science operations constraints were tested in the context of an existing project and protocols for the field activities designed to help NASA achieve the Vision for...
Article
Full-text available
The major advances in knowledge of extraterrestrial bodies come from in situ measurements on robotized measuring devices deployed by international space missions, for example, on the Moon and Mars. It is essential to test these instruments in environments on Earth that bear a close resemblance to planetary conditions. Within the framework of the 20...
Article
We have developed a precision subsampling system (PSS) that addresses the need for precise chemical analysis while remaining relatively flexible to a variety of instruments that may take advantage of the capability on future missions.