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Dr Stuart Turner

Profile summary

Professional biography

I'm a planetary scientist funded by the UK Space Agency to research water-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.


An insight into ancient aeolian processes and post‐Noachian aqueous alteration in Gale crater, Mars, using ChemCam geochemical data from the Greenheugh capping unit (2022)
Bedford, Candice C.; Banham, Steven G.; Bridges, John C.; Forni, Olivier; Cousin, Agnes; Bowden, Donald; Turner, Stuart M. R.; Wiens, Roger C.; Gasda, Patrick J.; Frydenvang, Jens; Gasnault, Olivier; Rammelkamp, Kristin; Rivera‐Hernandez, Frances; Rampe, Elizabeth B.; Smith, Rebecca; Achilles, Cherie; Dehouck, Erwin; Bryk, Alexander B.; Schwenzer, Susanne P. and Newsom, Horton
Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets ((Accepted Manuscript Online))

Overview of the Morphology and Chemistry of Diagenetic Features in the Clay‐Rich Glen Torridon Unit of Gale Crater, Mars (2022)
Gasda, Patrick J.; Comellas, J.; Essunfeld, A.; Das, D.; Bryk, A. B.; Dehouck, E.; Schwenzer, S. P.; Crossey, L.; Herkenhoff, K.; Johnson, J. R.; Newsom, H.; Lanza, N. L.; Rapin, W.; Goetz, W.; Meslin, P.‐Y.; Bridges, J. C.; Anderson, R.; David, G.; Turner, S. M. R.; Thorpe, M. T.; Kah, L.; Frydenvang, J.; Kronyak, R.; Caravaca, G.; Ollila, A.; Le Mouélic, S.; Nellessen, M.; Hoffman, M.; Fey, D.; Cousin, A.; Wiens, R. C.; Clegg, S. M.; Maurice, S.; Gasnault, O.; Delapp, D. and Reyes‐Newell, A.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, Article e2021JE007097 ((Early access))

Early diagenesis at and below Vera Rubin ridge, Gale crater, Mars (2021-10-27)
Turner, S. M. R.; Schwenzer, S. P.; Bridges, J. C.; Rampe, E. B.; Bedford, C. C.; Achilles, C. N.; McAdam, A. C.; Mangold, N.; Hicks, L. J.; Parnell, J.; Fraeman, A. A. and Reed, M. H.
Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 56(10) (pp. 1905-1932)

Exploring the environments of Martian impact‐generated hydrothermal systems and their potential to support life (2021-07)
Ramkissoon, Nisha K.; Turner, Stuart M. R.; Macey, Michael C.; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Reed, Mark H.; Pearson, Victoria K. and Olsson-Francis, Karen
Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 56(7) (pp. 1350-1368)

Evidence for a Diagenetic Origin of Vera Rubin Ridge, Gale Crater, Mars: Summary and Synthesis of Curiosity's Exploration Campaign (2020-12)
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, 125, Article e2020JE006527(12)

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)

Modeling Water-Rock Reactions Beneath the Greenheugh Pediment, Gale Crater, Mars (2021)
Turner, Stuart; Schwenzer, Susanne; Bridges, J.C.; Sutter, B. and Bedford, C.C.
In : 52nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference 2021 (15-19 Mar 2021, Virtual)

The Chemistry and Morphology of Diagenetic Features in Glen Torridon, Gale Crater (2021)
Gasda, P. J.; Comellas, J.; Essunfeld, A.; Das, D.; Nellessen, M.; Dehouck, E.; Anderson, R.; Rapin, W.; Lanza, N.; Meslin, P.-Y.; David, G.; Crossey, L.; Newsom, H.; Hoffman, M.; Fey, D.; Kronyak, R.; Frydenvang, J.; Bridges, J.; Turner, S. M. R.; Schwenzer, S. P.; Wiens, R. C.; Clegg, S.; Maurice, S. and Gasnault, O.
In : 52nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference 2021 (15-19 Mar 2021, Virtual)

Geochemical Energy Available to Microbes in Martian Impact Craters (2021)
Ramkissoon, Nisha; Turner, Stuart; Macey, Michael; Schwenzer, Susanne; Reed, M.H.; Pearson, Victoria and Olsson-Francis, Karen
In : 52nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference 2021 (15-19 Mar 2021, Virtual)

Mineralogy of the Oxia Planum Catchment Area on Mars and its Relevance to the Exomars Rosalind Franklin Rover Mission (2021)
Turner, Stuart; Fawdon, Peter and Davis, J.M.
In : 52nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference 2021 (15-19 Mar 2021, Virtual)

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)

Martian fluids and their evaporation products – an overview using thermochemical modelling (2020)
Schwenzer, Susanne; Bridges, John; Turner, Stuart; Ramkissoon, Nisha; Cogliati, Simone; Seidel, Robert; Reed, Mark; Filiberto, Justin; Vaniman, D. and Olsson-Francis, Karen
In : 51st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (16-18 Mar 2020)

Modeling the Behavior of Selected Water-Soluble Elements in Calcium Sulfate Veins of Gale Crater (2020)
Das, D.; Gasda, P.J.; Schwenzer, S,; Crossey, L.; Turner, S,; Leveille, R.J.; Berlo, K. and Wiens, R.C.
In : 52nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (15-19 Mar 2020 (Virtual), 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, Hannah; 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)