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Dr Stuart Turner

Profile summary

Professional biography

I'm a planetary scientist funded by the UK Space Agency to research fluid-rock interactions on Mars. To do this I analyse data returned by rovers and orbiters together with thermochemical modelling and laboratory experiments. As a collaborator on the NASA Mars Science Laboratory Science Team, I investigate the thermochemical interactions that produced the alteration mineral assemblages observed by the Curiosity rover in Gale crater. I also focus on the alteration mineralogy observed at Oxia Planum, where the ESA ExoMars Rosalind Franklin rover is scheduled to land and explore in 2023.

I have been a member of the Astrobiology research group at the Open University since 2018. Prior to my position at the Open University I worked as a Research Assistant in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leicester.

My background is primarily in physics. In 2017 I completed my PhD ‘Novel X-ray Diffraction and the Remote Analysis of Mars’ in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Univeristy of Leicester. For my PhD I researched the possibility of post-noachian impact-induced hydrothermal activity on Mars by using the CRISM reflectance spectroscopy dataset to identify alteration mineral assemblages in and around impact craters. I also aided in the development of a novel back-reflection X-ray diffraction technique that is insensitive to sample morphology, and could be developed into a compact instrument for spaceflight or deployed in a high-resolution configuration by utilising a monochromatic X-ray source (e.g. synchrotron). From 2008 to 2012 I studied for an MPhys Physics with Space Science and Technology, also at the University of Leicester.  

Teaching interests

During summer 2019 and 2020 I supported the delivery of the OpenSTEM lab Mars rover simulation mission group project for the masters level S818 Space Science course.

During my time as a PhD student and Research Assistant at the University of Leicester I was involved in teaching undergraduates. I was a laboratory demonstrator for 2nd year physics labs in 2012, 2013 and 2016, where I supervised undergraduates conducting X-ray diffraction and flourescence experiments. In 2016 I was a workshop facilitator for the 3rd year astrodynamics course. During 2016 and 2017 I assisted in creating online digital assessment materials for STEM foundation year students.

  • NASA Mars Science Laboratory Science Team Collaborator.
  • ESA ExoMars Rosalind Franklin rover PanCam Science Team Member.


Evidence for a Diagenetic Origin of Vera Rubin Ridge, Gale Crater, Mars: Summary and Synthesis of Curiosity's Exploration Campaign (2020)
Fraeman, A. A.; Edgar, L. A.; Rampe, E. B.; Thompson, L. M.; Frydenvang, J.; Fedo, C. M.; Catalano, J. G.; Dietrich, W. E.; Gabriel, T. S. J.; Vasavada, A. R.; Grotzinger, J. P.; L'Haridon, J.; Mangold, N.; Sun, V. Z.; House, C. H.; Bryk, A. B.; Hardgrove, C.; Czarnecki, S.; Stack, K. M.; Morris, R. V.; Arvidson, R. E.; Banham, S. G.; Bennett, K. A.; Bridges, J. C.; Edwards, C. S.; Fischer, W. W.; Fox, V. K.; Gupta, S.; Horgan, B. H. N.; Jacob, S. R.; Johnson, J. R.; Johnson, S. S.; Rubin, D. M.; Salvatore, M. R.; Schwenzer, S. P.; Siebach, K. L.; Stein, N. T.; Turner, S.; Wellington, D. F.; Wiens, R. C.; Williams, A. J.; David, G. and Wong, G. M.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, Article e2020JE006527 ((Early Access))

The 2016 UK Space Agency Mars Utah Rover Field Investigation (MURFI) (2019-01)
Balme, M. R.; Curtis-Rouse, M. C.; Banham, S.; Barnes, D.; Barnes, R.; Bauer, A.; Bedford, C. C.; Bridges, J.C.; Butcher, F. E. G.; Caballo, P.; Caldwell, A.; Coates, A. J.; Cousins, C.; Davis, J. M.; Dequaire, J.; Edwards, P.; Fawdon, P.; Furuya, K.; Gadd, M.; Get, P.; Griffiths, A.; Grindrod, P. M.; Gunn, M.; Gupta, S.; Hansen, R.; Harris, J. K.; Hicks, L. J.; Holt, J.; Huber, B.; Huntly, C.; Hutchinson, I.; Jackson, L.; Kay, S.; Kyberd, S.; Lerman, H. N.; McHugh, M.; McMahon, W. J.; Muller, J.-P.; Ortner, T.; Osinski, G.; Paar, G.; Preston, L. J.; Schwenzer, S. P.; Stabbins, R.; Tao, Y.; Traxler, C.; Turner, S.; Tyler, L.; Venn, S.; Walker, H.; Wilcox, T.; Wright, J. and Yeomans, B.
Planetary And Space Science, 165 (pp. 31-56)

Enhanced groundwater flow on and below Vera Rubin ridge, the Murray Formation, Gale Crater: Evidence from thermochemical modeling (2020)
Turner, S.M.R.; Schwenzer, S.P.; Bridges, J.C.; Rampe, E.B.; Bedford, C.C.; Achilles, C.N.; McAdam, A.; Mangold, N.; Hicks, L.J.; Parnell, J.; Kirnbauer, T.; Fraeman, A.A. and Reed, M.H.
In : 51st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (16-20 Mar 2020 (Cancelled), Houston, USA)

Thermochemical Modelling of Fluid-Rock Reactions in Vera Rubin ridge, Gale Crater, Mars. (2019-05)
Turner, S.M.R.; Schwenzer, S.P.; Bridges, J.C.; Bedford, C.C.; Rampe, E.B.; Fraeman, A.A.; McAdam, A.; Mangold, N. and L'Haridon, J.
In : 50th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (18-22 Mar 2019, The Woodlands, Houston, Texas, USA)

ExoFiT: ExoMars-Like Field Trials – a Mission Simulation. (2019)
Hall, A.; Dobke, B.; Lisle, M.; Shilton, M.; Allouis, E.; Waugh, L.; Carroll, J.; Doignon, G.; Azkarate, M.; van Winnendael, M.; Duvet, L.; Martin, D.; Delfa, J.; Vago, J.; Schwenzer, S. P.; Balme, M.; Fawdon, P.; Turner, S.; Bedford, C.; Sargeant, H.; Pegg, D.; Mirino, M.; Barrett, T.; Ladegaard, A.; Rull, F.; Veneranda, M.; Bontognali, T.; Josset, T.; Josset, J.-L.; Josset, M.; Ciarletti, V.; Plettemeier, D.; Le Gall, A.; Hervé, Y.; Corbel, C.; Vieau, A.-J.; Oudart, N. R.; Trainer, V.; Benedix, W.-S.; Hegler, S.; Lopez, G.; Saiz, J.; Preston, L.; Cousins, C.; Allender, E.; Banham, S.; Barnes, R.; Northwood-Smith, G.; Sangwan, K.; Grindrod, P.; Davis, J.; Motaghian, S.; Dickeson, Z.; Boazman, S.; Schroder, C.; Hauber, E.; Schmitz, N.; Parkes-Bowen, A.; Bahir, R.; Barcenilla, R.; Leff, C.; Persud, D.; Coates, A.; Griffiths, A.; Stabbins, R.; Bohacek, E.; Kuhn, N. and Westall, F.
In : 15th Symposium on Advanced Space Technologies in Robotics and Automation (27-28 May 2019, ESA-ESTEC, Noordwijk, the Netherlands)