Tara-Marie Bründl

Tara-Marie Bründl, MPhys

Tara is an experimental PhD Candidate specialised in the field of surface processes on icy moons such as Enceladus and Europa. Her interest for the outer solar system and its ocean-bearing icy moons was sparked while working for JUICE, a mission to study the characteristics of ocean worlds in the Jovian system. During her two year-long Young Graduate Traineeship (YGT) at ESA-ESAC and Airbus Defence and Space she received training in science operations and instrument functional verification by mission scientists and experienced spacecraft engineers. She obtained her Master’s degree from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, where she studied Astrophysics and investigated the longevity of sub-surface brines under Mars-like conditions for her thesis. This year she is also coaching a group of BSc students designing a Venus atmosphere mission in the frame of the Design Synthesis Exercise (DSE).

In keywords: Icy moons, Enceladus, plumes, surface processes, JUICE, UHV technology, infrared and mass spectrometry.

Research: Tara experimentally studies the formation of icy moon’s exospheres using vacuum technologies available in laboratories at TU Delft and Leiden Observatory. In particular, she mimics cryo-geysers on Enceladus, discovered by the Cassini spacecraft in 2005, to better understand the relation between the icy moon’s ocean and its thin atmosphere. Additionally, through state-of-the art spectrometry techniques Tara investigates the physical and chemical processes occurring in enceledean ices due to impinging energetic particles from the solar UV radiation, cosmic rays and Saturn’s harsh plasma environment.

Image: The Cryogenic Photoproduct Analysis Device (CryoPAD2) at the Laboratory for Astrophysics in Leiden is a highly advanced laboratory setup to study physicochemical processes in ices during UV irradiation (bottom right in purple).

For possible thesis topics, please have a look at the Brightspace page of the MSc AE profile Space Exploration.