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 water-mediated history of Mars' surface and atmosphere, and its astrobiological implications.

Much of this work concerns Mars and the Moon, but results can have implications for asteroids, comets, and exoplanets.


Ongoing collaborations

  • Birkbeck, University of London, UK: Dr. Peter Grindrod – ExoMars Rover landing site. Prof. Ian Crawford – Thermal characterisation of lunar polar landing sites.
  • The Open University, UK: Dr. Matt Balme – Mars regolith thermophysics, ExoMars Rover landing site.
  • Imperial College London, UK: Prof. Sanjeev Gupta – UK ExoMars Rover landing site geology.
  • University of Leicester, UK: Prof. John Bridges – Characterisation of ExoMars Rover landing site candidates.
  • University of California Los Angeles, USA: Prof. David Paige – Lunar polar volatiles and lunar IR radiometry/spectroscopy. Dr. Jean-Pierre Williams – Lunar IR radiometry/spectroscopy and dataset production.
  • Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, USA: Dr. Benjamin Greenhagen – Lunar polar volatiles and dataset production.
  • Laboratory for Atmospheric & Space Physics, Boulder, USA: Dr. Klaus-Michael Aye – Lunar thermal observations and planetary dataset manipulation/production.


List of publications

Project/mission at ESA

Current projects: