Pascale Ehrenfreund
George Washington University


Prof. Pascale Ehrenfreund is lead investigator of the NASA Astrobiology Institute (Node Wisconsin) and leads the Astrobiology Laboratory at Leiden Institute of Chemistry since 2001. She has made important contributions to interstellar chemistry (galactic and extragalactic), organic molecules in interstellar space, planetary surfaces, comets and meteorites as well as life detection on Mars and the origin of life. During the last 15 years she has contributed as Principal Investigator, Co-Investigator and Teamleader to experiments in Low Earth Orbit, on the International Space Station as well as many different ESA and NASA space missions, including astronomy and planetary missions. Pascale Ehrenfreund is the Project scientist of NASA’s O/OREOs satellite the first missions of the NASA Astrobiology Small Payload program and the Vice President of the European Astrobiology Network Association EANA. She developed a full program for space laboratory simulations in the framework of leading the Mars Express Recognized Laboratory MEX-RCL for Geochemistry & Exobiology. Pascale Ehrenfreund has authored or co-authored more than 300 publications (160 refereed papers) and edited 11 books. She is currently Research Professor of Space Policy and International Affairs at the Space Policy Institute in Washington DC and develops concepts and action plans for global space policy in the framework of cross-cultural management and stakeholder coordination. She chairs the Panel on Exploration (PEX) of COSPAR that supports space exploration activities, cooperative efforts and capacity building.

Pascale Ehrenfreund holds a masters degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Vienna, a doctorate in Astrophysics from the University of Paris VII/ University of Vienna (Austria), a habilitation in Astrochemistry from the University of Vienna and a masters degree in Management & Leadership from Webster University in Leiden (The Netherlands).

Selected Publications

P. Ehrenfreund, S.B. Charnley (2000) “Organic molecules in the ISM, comets and meteorites”:
A voyage from dark clouds to the early Earth”, Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 38, 427-483

P. Ehrenfreund, W. Irvine, L. Becker, J. Blank, J. Brucato, L. Colangeli, S. Derenne, D. Despois, A. Dutrey, H. Fraaije, A. Lazcano, T. Owen, F. Robert (2002) “Astrophysical and astrochemical insights into the origin of life”, Reports on Progress in Physics 65, 1427

P. Ehrenfreund, J. Cami, J. Jimenez-Vincente, B.H. Foing, L. Kaper, A. van der Meer, N. Cox, L. d’Hendecourt, J.P. Maier, F. Salama, P. Sarre, T.P. Snow, P. Sonnentrucker (2002) “Detection of diffuse interstellar bands in the Magellanic Clouds”, Astrophys. Journal Lett. 576, L117

P. Ehrenfreund, H. Fraser, J. Blum, J. Cartwright, J. Garcia-Ruiz, E. Hadamcik, A.C..Levasseur-Regourd, S. Price, F. Prodi, A. Sarkissian (ESA Topical Team on Physico-chemistry in space) (2003) “Physics and chemistry of icy particles in the universe: answers from microgravity”, Planetary and Space Science 51, 473-494

P. Ehrenfreund, S.B. Charnley, D.H. Wooden (2004) “From ISM material to comet particles and molecules”, COMETS II, eds. M. Festou, H.U.Keller, H. Weaver, Univ. Arizona Press, 115-133

P. Ehrenfreund, S. Rasmussen, J. H. Cleaves, L. Chen (2006) “Experimentally tracing the key steps in the origin of life”, Astrobiology 6/3, 490-520

P. Ehrenfreund, M. Sephton (2006) “Carbon Molecules in Space: From Astrochemistry to Astrobiology”, Faraday Discussion 133: Royal Chemical Society, 277-288

P. Ehrenfreund, R. Ruiterkamp, Z. Peeters, B. Foing, F. Salama, Z. Martins, (2007) “The ORGANICS experiments on BIOPAN V: UV and space exposure of aromatic compounds”, Planetary and Space Science 55, 383-400

P. Ehrenfreund, J. Cami (2010) “Cosmic carbon chemistry: from the interstellar medium to the early Earth”, in: The origin of Life, eds. D. Deamer & J. Szostak, Cold Spring Harbor, New York, 21-34

P. Ehrenfreund, W. Röling, C. Thiel, R. Quinn, M. Septhon, C. Stoker, S. Direito, M. Kotler, Z. Martins, G. Orzechowska, R. Kidd, K. van Sluis, B. H, Foing (2011) “Astrobiology and habitability studies in preparation for future Mars missions: trends from investigating minerals, organics and biota”, Intern. Journal of Astrobiology 10, 3, 239


1996 APART Prize, Austrian Academy of Science
2001 New Impulse grant, Dutch Government

Asteroid 9826 Ehrenfreund 2114 T-3 orbits at 2.9 AU from the Sun

NAI Project Collaborators