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Dr Mark Fox-Powell

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Professional biography

2020-present: Research Fellow, AstrobiologyOU, Open University

2016-2019: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of St Andrews

2016: Research Assistant, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of St Andrews

2012-2016: PhD in Astrobiology, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Edinburgh

Research interests

My research interests centre around the oceans of ice-covered moons in the outer solar system, such as Europa and Ganymede (moons of Jupiter) and Enceladus and Titan (Saturn), which may be habitable today. I focus on how material delivered to the surface by 'cryovolcanism' can be used to learn about the oceans far below. My work involves experimental simulations of cryovolcanic processes and an array of spectroscopic, microscopic and geochemical techniques to track how ocean chemistry and even microorgansisms can be delivered to the surface. As a member of AstrobiologyOU, I make use of unique planetary surface simulation facilities to relate my findings to upcoming missions such as the JUpiter Icy Moons Explorer (ESA) and the Europa Clipper (NASA). Alongside my experimental work, I am involved in field analogue research in polar and sub-polar environments, including the Canadian High Arctic and Iceland.


Compositional Controls on the Distribution of Brine in Europa’s Ice Shell (2022-09-14)
Wolfenbarger, N. S.; Fox-Powell, M. G.; Buffo, J. J.; Soderlund, K. M. and Blankenship, D. D.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 127, Article e2022JE007305(9)

Sulfur Cycling as a Viable Metabolism under Simulated Noachian/Hesperian Chemistries (2022-04)
Oliver, James A.W.; Kelbrick, Matthew; Ramkissoon, Nisha K.; Dugdale, Amy; Stephens, Ben; Kucukkilic-Stephens, Ezgi; Fox-Powell, Mark G.; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Antunes, André and Macey, Michael C.
Life, 12, Article 523(4)

Sulfur isotopes as biosignatures for Mars and Europa exploration (2022)
Moreras-Marti, A.; Fox-Powell, M.; Cousins, C. R.; Macey, M. C. and Zerkle, A.L.
Journal of the Geological Society ((Early access))

Hunting for Life on Mars by Studying Life on Earth (2021-10)
Macey, Michael; Grand, Ann; Fox-Powell, Mark; Ramkissoon, Nisha; Cousins, Claire and Olsson-Francis, Karen
Frontiers for Young Minds, 9, Article 665929

Quadruple sulfur isotope biosignatures from terrestrial Mars analogue systems (2021-09-01)
Moreras-Marti, A.; Fox-Powell, M.; Stueeken, E.; Di Rocco, T.; Galloway, T.; Osinski, G. R.; Cousins, C. R. and Zerkle, A. L.
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 308 (pp. 157-172)

Partitioning of Crystalline and Amorphous Phases During Freezing of Simulated Enceladus Ocean Fluids (2021-01)
Fox‐Powell, Mark G. and Cousins, Claire R.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 126, Article e2020JE006628(1)

Volcanic controls on the microbial habitability of Mars‐analogue hydrothermal environments (2021)
Moreras‐Marti, Arola; Fox-Powell, Mark; Zerkle, Aubrey L.; Stueeken, Eva; Gazquez, Fernando; Brand, Helen E. A.; Galloway, Toni; Purkamo, Lotta and Cousins, Claire R.
Geobiology, 19(5) (pp. 489-509)

The identification of sulfide oxidation as a potential metabolism driving primary production on late Noachian Mars (2020)
Macey, M. C.; Fox-Powell, M.; Ramkissoon, N. K.; Stephens, B. P.; Barton, T.; Schwenzer, S. P.; Pearson, V. K.; Cousins, C. R. and Olsson-Francis, K.
Scientific reports, 10, Article 10941

Natural Analogue Constraints on Europa's Non-ice surface Material (2019-06-16)
Fox-Powell, Mark; Osinski, Gordon; Applin, Daniel; Stromberg, Jessica; Gázquez, Fernando; Cloutis, Ed; Allender, Elyse and Cousins, Claire
Geophysical Research Letters, 46(11) (pp. 5759-5767)

An Ionic Limit to Life in the Deep Subsurface (2019-03)
Payler, Samuel; Biddle, Jennifer; Sherwood Lollar, Barbara; Fox-Powell, Mark; Edwards, Thomas; Ngwenya, Bryne; Paling, Sean and Cockell, Charles
Frontiers in Microbiology, 10, Article 426

Cryogenic silicification of microorganisms in hydrothermal fluids (2018-09-15)
Fox-Powell, Mark; Channing, Alan; Applin, Daniel; Cloutis, Ed; Preston, Louisa and Cousins, Claire
Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 498 (pp. 1-8)

Building a Geochemical View of Microbial Salt Tolerance: Halophilic Adaptation of Marinococcus in a Natural Magnesium Sulfate Brine (2018)
Fox-Powell, Mark and Cockell, Charles
Frontiers in Microbiology, 9, Article 739

Ionic strength is a barrier to the habitability of Mars (2016-06-06)
Fox-Powell, Mark; Hallsworth, John; Cousins, Claire and Cockell, Charles
Astrobiology, 16(6) (pp. 427-442)

Multiplication of microbes below 0.690 water activity: implications for terrestrial and extraterrestrial life (2015-02)
Stevenson, Andrew; Burkhardt, Jürgen; Cockell, Charles S.; Cray, Jonathan A.; Dijksterhuis, Jan; Fox-Powell, Mark; Kee, Terence P.; Kminek, Gerhard; McGenity, Terry J.; Timmis, Kenneth N.; Timson, David J.; Voytek, Mary A.; Westall, Frances; Yakimov, Michail M. and Hallsworth, John E.
Environmental Microbiology, 17(2) (pp. 257-277)

Modelling water-rock interactions in the subsurface environment of Enceladus (2021-03)
Hamp, Rachael; Schwenzer, Susanne; Fox-Powell, Mark; Olsson-Francis, Karen and Pearson, Victoria
In : Lunar and Planetary Science Conference 2021 (Mar 2021, Houston, USA)

Colour Peak:An analogue environment for the waters of late Noachian Mars (2020-08-28)
Macey, Michael; Ramkissoon, Nisha; Fox-Powell, Mark; Barton, Tim; Stephens, Ben P.; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Pearson, Victoria K.; Cousins, Claire R. and Olsson-Francis, Karen
In : EANA 2020 (27-28 Aug 2020, Online)

Colour Peak: An analogue environment for late Noachian Mars (2020)
Macey, Michael C.; Fox-Powell, Mark; Ramkissoon, Nisha K.; Stephens, Ben P.; Barton, Tim; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Pearson, Victoria K.; Cousins, Claire R. and Olsson-Francis, Karen
In : Astrobiology Australasia Meeting (9-11 Sep 2020, Online)

The identification of sulfide oxidation as potential metabolism driving primary production on late Noachian Mars (2020)
Macey, Michael C; Fox-Powell, Mark; Ramkissoon, Nisha K; Baharier, Bea; Oliver, James A W; Stephens, Ben; Schwenzer, Susanne P; Pearson, Victoria K; Cousins, Claire R and Olsson-Francis, Karen
In : 52nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (15-19 Mar 2020 (Virtual), Houston, USA)