Elliot Sefton-Nash

Planetary 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.

Ongoing collaborations

  • ESA/ESTEC, NL: Olivier Witasse, Detlef Koschny – Martian elongated craters and ancient atmosphere. Jorge Vago, Ottaviano Ruesch – ExoMars Rover landing site.
  • Natural History Museum, London, UK: Peter Grindrod, Joel Davis – ExoMars Rover landing site.
  • The Open University, UK: Matt Balme, Peter Fawdon – Mars regolith thermophysics, ExoMars Rover landing site.
  • University of California Los Angeles, USA: David Paige – Lunar polar volatiles and lunar IR radiometry/spectroscopy. Jean-Pierre Williams – Lunar IR radiometry/spectroscopy and dataset production.
  • Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, USA: Benjamin Greenhagen, Ray Espiritu – Lunar polar volatiles and dataset production.


List of publications

Project/mission at ESA

Current projects: