Advances in Space Mass Spectrometry for the Search of Extraterrestrial Signs of Life

May 16, 2018 - May 18, 2018

Hôtel Dupanloup
1 rue Dupanloup
45000 Orléans


In recent decades, the search for signs of extraterrestrial life has been a prime topic in scientific space exploration. This international conference, organized by LE STUDIUM Loire Valley Institute for Advanced Studies, aims at presenting the current state of knowledge acquired so far in the field of mass spectrometry by the activities of the world's scientific organizations and the most active space agencies pursuing this fundamental research field.

International experts will present the results on mass spectrometry of on-going and recently-completed in situ space missions (review talks on Cassini-Huygens, Rosetta, MSL-Curiosity, etc….) as well as the results of the return sample missions (Stardust, Hayabusa, etc..) and experimental laboratory and relevant modelling results.

Several space missions under development that address the research field will be presented by representatives of Space Agencies (NASA, ESA, JAXA, CNES,..)

A part of the workshop will be devoted to the presentations of new High Resolution Mass Spectrometry (HRMS) space instruments under development that are required to advance in our capability to address the ambitious science objectives laid down for the future missions under study.

Main topics

Mass Spectrometry, Space Missions, Spatial Instrumentation, Planetology, Exobiology, Habitability.


  • Dr Ján Žabka, LE STUDIUM Research Fellow.
    FROM: Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic - CZ
    IN RESIDENCE AT: Laboratoire de Physique et Chimie de l’Environnement et de l’Espace (LPC2E) / CNRS, University of Orléans - FR
  • Dr Christelle Briois,
    Laboratoire de Physique et Chimie de l’Environnement et de l’Espace (LPC2E) / CNRS, University of Orléans - FR


Advances in Space Mass Spectrometry for the Search of Extraterrestrial Signs of Life

Scientific committee

  • Dr Christelle Briois - FR
  • Dr Jean-Pierre Lebreton - FR
  • Dr Laurent Thirkell - FR
  • Dr Ján Žabka - FR

Confirmed Speakers


Abstracts for oral presentation should be submitted before Monday 16th of April 2018.
The number of oral presentations is limited, convenors will process a selection and confirm your presentation not later than Friday 20th of April 2018.
Abstracts for posters should be submitted during the registration. Please note that we do not print the posters, but racks & pins will be provided for up to A0 sizes.


Hôtel Dupanloup : 1, rue Dupanloup - 45000 ORLEANS - FR

The conference venue is unique. Located right next to the Orléans’ cathedral, the episcopal palace of Orléans, built between 1635 and 1641, locally known as the Hôtel Dupanloup, is a classical French building which served until 1905 of residence to the bishops of Orléans.  Since 2014, the renewed palace hosts the International University Center for Research and Le Studium Loire Valley Institute for Advanced Studies.

Participants will be welcomed in this exceptional surrounding, blending Middle Age and Renaissance cultures with modern design and will have the opportunity to discover French cuisine and wines.


IMPORTANT ! Please note there are works on the train line between Paris and Orléans during the day: no train between 09h30 and 16h30. Furthermore, there is a scheduled strike on Friday 18th May with a limited number of trains (all lines in France are concerned).

Conference PROGRAM

Wednesday May 16th 2018

  • 12:30    Welcome lunch & registration

Session 1 : Recent results of the airless small bodies study (Rosetta,...)

  • 14:00    Official Opening by Pr Valéry Catoire (LPC2E)
  • 14:15    Dr Martin Rubin - ROSINA at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
  • 14:45    Dr Martin Hilchenbach - The tale of  cometary dust particle analysis next to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
  • 15:15    Dr Paola Modica - Search for halogen species in the dust particles of comet 67P/ Churyumov-Gerasimenko 
  • 15:35    Robin Isnard - Characterization of the refractory organic matter in cometary particles of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
  • 15:55    Coffee break

Session 2 : Laboratory analyzes of space samples (Hayabusa2, …)

  • 16:30    Dr Yoko Kebukawa -  Future mission to Jupiter Trojan Asteroid – OKEANOS: The next generation small body exploration inheriting Hayabusa and Hayabusa2
  • 17:00    Dr François-Régis Orthous-Daunay - Molecular growth in the solar system
  • 17:20    Dr Alexander Ruf - Novel metalorganic compounds revealed in meteorites
  • 18:30    Public Lecture in French : Dr Cécile Engrand - Poussières cométaires : collectes en Antarctique et missions spatiales 
  • 20:00    Wine & cheese cocktail

Thursday May 17th 2018

  • 08:30    Welcome coffee

Session 3 : Recent results of the last space missions (CASSINI-HUYGENS, Mars)

  • 09:00    Dr Nozair Khawaja - Cassini’s mass spectrometers find complex organic material in ice grains from the subsurface ocean of Enceladus from the subsurface ocean of Enceladus
  • 09:30    Dr Véronique Vuitton - Prebiotic molecules in Titan’s atmosphere?
  • 10:00    Dr Thomas Gautier - Low Resolution Mass Spectra Decomposition – Reinterpretation of Huygens-GCMS data acquired in Titan’s atmosphere 
  • 10:20    Coffee break
  • 10:40    Dr Cyril Szopa - Mass Spectrometry for exploring Mars from the top of the atmosphere to the surface : a 42 years story !
  • 11:10    Jinjin Zhao - Isotope fractionation in the photochemical escape from Early Mars 
  • 11:30    Dr Illia Zymak - Study of the O- transpher gas-phase ion molecular reactions relevant to the atmosphere of Mars
  • 12:00    Lunch

Session 4 : Laboratory studies of atmospheric ion chemistry  

  • 13:30    Pr Wolf Geppert - Experimental and theoretical investigations into interstellar and atmospheric ion reactions
  • 14:00    Dr Miroslav Polášek - High-energy collisions of ions with molecules in planetary atmospheres and interstellar media
  • 14:20    Dr Daniela Ascenzi - Building complex N-containing species on Titan’s atmosphere: an experimental mass spectrometric approach
  • 14:40    Coffee break
  • 15:10    Dr Claire Romanzin - Gas phase ion-molecule chemistry: controlled reactions of methyl cations with O-bearing compounds and hydrocarbons
  • 15:30    Julien Maillard - Comparison of the soluble and insoluble organic matter in titan’s aerosols 
  • 15:50    Pr Alexander Makarov - A High Resolution Orbitrap Mass Analyzer for Understanding of Organic Chemistry in the Solar System
  • 16:30    Laura Selliez - Laboratory studies of tholins, analogs of Titan aerosols, with the CosmOrbitrap
  • 16:50    Dr Sascha Kempf - The Surface Dust Analyzer (SUDA) on Europa Clipper
  • 17:30    Guided visit of Orléans old city
  • 19:30    Social dinner  - Le Bateau Lavoir - Concert Romana_Z

Friday May 18th 2018

  • 08:30    Welcome coffee

Session 5 : New space instrumentation developments

  • 09:00    Dr Ricardo Arevalo - An Orbitrap-based laser desorption/ablation mass spectrometer for spaceflight
  • 09:20    Dr Peter Wurz - In situ detection of extinct or extant microbial life on planetary surfaces
  • 09:40    Dr Ján Žabka - OLYMPIA – a versatile CosmOrbitrap-based laboratory instrument
  • 10:00    Fabian Klenner - The Heidelberg Analog Experiment for Spaceborne Mass Spectrometers
  • 10:20    Coffee break

Session 6 : Vision for the exploration of habitable worlds

  • 10:40    Pr Christophe Sotin - Detecting extra-terrestrial life in our solar system
  • 11:10    Dr Jean-Pierre Lebreton - Planetary Exploration 2061: A European Initiative
  • 11:30    Round table discussion
  • 13:00    Conclusion


Private institutions250 EUR
Public institutions180 EUR
Students & PhD Scholars60 EUR
Social dinner60 EUR

Partners of the event