Planetary Science by Space Missions


PD Dr. Frank PostbergPortrait 2017 310px



Institut für Geowissenschaften

Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

Im Neuenheimer Feld 236

D-69120 Heidelberg

Raum: 303
+49 6221 54-8204
+49 6221 54-4805 (Sekretariat)




Habilitation (Venia Legendi)

Faculty of Chemistry and Geoscience / Heidelberg University, Germany


PhD (Dr. rer. nat.)

Faculty of Physics and Astronomy / Heidelberg University / carried out at MPI for Nuclear Physics, Heidelberg / Supervisor: Prof. Eberhard Grün


Diplom Physics

Faculty of Physics / University of Darmstadt, Germany


Diplom-Ingenieur Chemical Engineering

Faculty of Chemistry and Biochemistry / University of Apl. Sciences Darmstadt, Germany


Current Position

Since 2012

Privat Dozent

Institute of Earth Science / Cosmochemistry Department (Prof. Mario Trieloff) / University of Heidelberg, Germany


Previous Positions

2015 – 2016

Visiting Scientist

Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) / University of Colorado / Boulder, USA

2011 – 2014

Research Scientist

Institute of Space Systems (IRS), University of Stuttgart, Germany

2008 – 2011

PostDoc (Research-Fellowship)

Institute of Earth Science / University of Heidelberg, Germany

2007 – 2008


Max-Planck-Institute for Nuclear Physics / Heidelberg, Germany

2005 – 2007

Research Assistant

Max-Planck-Institute for Nuclear Physics / Heidelberg, Germany

1998 – 2005

Environmental Engineer (not a researcher position),

Chemlab GmbH / Analytical environmental chemistry / Bensheim, Germany


Further Milestones


Lead of the new Research Group “Planetary Science by Space Missions” at the Institute of Earth Science,

University of Heidelberg


Co-Investigator of the Surface Dust Analyser (SUDA) Experiment on NASA’s Europa Clipper Mission


Heisenberg Stipendium (Heisenberg-Fellowship) by the German Research Foundation (DFG)


Co-Investigator of the Cosmic Dust Analyser Experiment on the ESA/NASA Cassini-Huygens mission

2008 – 2013

Member of the Stardust Interstellar Preliminary Examination Team (ISPE) of the Stardust space mission to comet Wild 2


Fellowships and Awards

2016 Consolidator Grant of the European Research Council (ERC)
2014 Heisenberg-Fellowship of the German Research Foundation (DFG)
2013 NASA Group Achievement for F. Postberg’s work in the Stardust ISPE Team
2010 NASA Group Achievement for F. Postberg’s work in the Cassini-Huygens CDA Team
2008 Frontier Fond Science Fellowship (funded within German Excellence Initiative)


Membership of Scientific Societies


since 2016 Deutsche Astrobiologische Gesellschaft (DAbG)
since 2015 NASA’s Outer Planets Assessment Group (OPAG)
since 2010 American Geosciences Union (AGU)
since 2009 Division of Planetary Science (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS)
since 2006 European Geosciences Union (EGU)


Most relevant Publications (starting with latest)

  • Altobelli N.*, Postberg F.*, Fiege K.*, Trieloff M.* and 11 co-authors (2016) Flux and composition of interstellar dust at Saturn from Cassini’s Cosmic Dust Analyser, Science 352, 312-318. *These authors contributed equally to this work.
  • Sekine, Y., Shibuya, T., Postberg, F., Hsu, H.W., Suzuki, K., Masaki, Y., Kuwatani, T., Mori, M., Hong, P.K., Yoshizaki, M., Tachibana, S., & Sirono, S. (2015) High-temperature water-rock interactions and hydrothermal environments in the chondrite-like core of Enceladus, Nature comms., vol. 6, no. 8604.
  • Hsu, H.W.*, Postberg, F.*, Sekine, Y.*, Shibuya, T., Kempf, S., Horányi, M., Juhász, A., Altobelli, N., Suzuki, K., Masaki, Y., Kuwatani, T., Tachibana, S., Sirono, S., Moragas-Klostermeyer, G., Srama, R. (2015) Ongoing hydrothermal acitivities within Enceladus, Nature, Vol. 519, p. 207-210 *These authors contributed equally to this work.
  • Postberg, F. and 58 co-authors (2014) Stardust Interstellar Preliminary Examination IX: High speed interstellar dust analogue capture in Stardust flight-spare aerogel, Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 49, Nr.9, 1666- 1679
  • Westphal, A. and 65 co-authors incl. Postberg, F. (2014) Evidence for interstellar origin of seven dust particles collected by the Stardust spacecraft, Science 345, 786 - 791
  • Postberg, F., Schmidt J., Hillier, J.K., Kempf S., Srama, R. (2011) A salt-water reservoir as the source of a compositionally stratified plume on Enceladus, Nature, Vol. 474, Issue 7353, p. 620-622
  • Postberg, F., Grün, E., Horanyi, M., Kempf, S., Krüger, H., Schmidt, J., Spahn, F., Srama, R., Sternovsky, Z., Trieloff, M. (2011) Compositional mapping of planetary moons by mass spectrometry of dust ejecta, Planetary and Space Science, Vol. 59, p. 1815–1825.
  • Postberg, F., Kempf, S., Schmidt, J., Brillantov, N., Beinsen, A., Abel, B., Buck, U., Srama, R. (2009) Sodium Salts in E Ring Ice Grains from an Ocean below the Surface of Enceladus, Nature, Vol. 459, Issue 7250, p. 1098 - 1101
  • Postberg, F., Kempf, S., Rost, D., Stephan, T., Srama, R., Trieloff, M., Mocker, A., and Goerlich, M. (2009) Discriminating Contamination from Particle Components in Spectra of Cassini’s Dust Detector CDA, Planetary and Space Science, Volume 57, Issue 12, p. 1359 – 1374
  • Postberg, F., Hillier, J.K., Kempf, Srama, R., Green, S.F., McBride, N., and Grün, E. (2008) The E-ring in the vicinity of Enceladus II: Probing the moon's interior - the composition of E-ring particles, Icarus, vol. 193, p. 438-454.
  • Jones, G.H. and 40 co-authors incl. Postberg, F. (2008) The Dust Halo of Saturn’s Largest Icy Moon, Rhea, Science, vol 319, p. 1380-1384
  • Postberg, F., Kempf, S., Srama, R., Green, S.F., Hillier, J.K., McBride, N., Grün, E. (2006) Composition of Jovian Dust Stream Particles, Icarus, vol. 183, p. 122-134.
  • Kempf, S., Srama, R., Postberg, F., Burton, M., Green, S.F., Helfert, S., Hillier, J. K., McBride, N., McDonnell, J.A.M., Moragas-Klostermeyer, G., Roy, M., and Grün, E. (2005) Composition of Saturnian Stream Particles, Science, vol. 307, p. 1274-1276.

Major public articles:

  • Postberg, F, Tobie, G., Dambeck T., Under the Sea of Enceladus, Scientific American, Issue October 2016, Pages 34 – 39.
  • Postberg, F. & Dambeck, T., Coverstory: Heisses Wasser in der Tiefe des Enceladus, Spektrum der Wissenschaft, Ausgabe 6/2015, Pages 32 – 41.


Editor: Email
Latest Revision: 2017-03-13
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