Elliot Sefton-Nash - Personal Profiles
Elliot Sefton-NashPlanetary Scientist
Main Research Fields
My research areas encompass planetary geology and remote sensing, and include questions regarding: surface properties (thermophysical, morphological, mineralogical), surface-atmosphere interaction, volatiles, habitability, computational methods and planetary GIS. I do spectroscopy and radiometry from the visible to far infrared, analysis of planetary image data, and theoretical modelling in support of observations.
Broadly, my research aim is to map and understand the composition, distribution and role of volatiles in the context of past and present solar system habitats, and targeting of sites for future human and robotic exploration. Special focus is given to the volatile inventory of the lunar poles, and the water-mediated history of Mars' surface and atmosphere.
I am interested in the the relevance of results in these fields to astrobiology and future human resource utilisation in the solar system. Much of this work concerns Mars and the Moon, but results can have implications for asteroids, comets, and exoplanets.
Current Research AREAS
Mars: Palaeo-environments and habitability (ExoMars, Oxia Planum). Surface and atmospheric processes. Impact cratering: oblique impacts, crater morphology, target material properties.
Phobos and Deimos: Characteristics and origins. Mission studies for science and exploration.
Moon: Polar volatiles. Thermal and illumination environment. IR radiometry/spectroscopy.
Project/mission at ESA
- ExoMars Rosalind Franklin Mission (Deputy Project Scientist) - The Rosalind Franklin rover will seek signs of life in the Martian subsurface at Oxia Planum.
- JAXA Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) - Project Scientist for the ESA participation in the JAXA MMX mission, to determine the origin of the Martian moons, study the cis-Mars environment and return samples from Phobos.
- Mars Sample Return - The Joint NASA-ESA Mars Sample Return Campaign will return samples from the surface of Mars to Earth for analysis in terrestrial laboratories. Currently I perform duties as the ESA Project Scientist for the Sample Recieving Project (SRP), which is responsible for all activities and facilities built to handle the returned samples after they arrive on Earth.