David Catling


Co-Investigator, Atmospheric Structure, Climate-Surface studies,
University of Washington


David Catling

David Catling received his doctorate from the Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics at the University of Oxford. From 1995-2001, he worked as a research scientist at NASA Ames Research Center near San Francisco. Since 2001, he has been a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he holds a joint appointment to the Dept. Atmospheric Sciences and the cross-campus Astrobiology Program involving eleven other departments.

David Catling's research interests include studies of the atmosphere and surface of Mars. This has involved analysis of data from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey orbiters.

He also does research on the evolution of the Earth's atmosphere and the co-evolution of life. His research on the chemical history of the atmosphere bears history of life on Earth, as well as life elsewhere.

For the Phoenix mission, Prof. Catling has been mainly involved in determining how measurements gathered during descent of Phoenix through the Martian atmosphere will be used to derive information such as how the air temperature changes from near the Martian surface up to very high altitude. This can tell us about atmospheric motions and the presence of clouds. Prof. Catling has also provided input on measurements of the gas composition of Mars to be made by Phoenix's mass spectrometer (part of TEGA). Here he has expertise on how these measurements can be used to gather information about the atmospheric evolution of Mars. Prof. Catling has also contributed to the design of the experiment in Phoenix's MECA instrument package that mixes Martian soil with water and looks for salts in the soil. Here he is interested in how measuring salts on Mars can tell us about the geochemical and climate history of Mars.

In his spare time, Prof. Catling likes to go on natural history hikes in far-away places (recently the mountains of Tahiti and Mauritius), compose pieces of piano music, and play tennis badly.

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