Science Team

Javier Martin-Torres

Principal Investigator

Founder and Director of the Atmospheric Science Group, he graduated in Theoretical Physics and doctorated “Cum Laude” with a thesis on radiative transfer that was the starting point of a long research career throughout which he has developed the topic for its application to different research projects, from atmospheric studies to planetary exploration.

Maria Paz Zorzano Mier

Co Principal Investigator

Professor Zorzano has developed a scientific career as long as intense since she finished her bachelor degree in Theoretical Physics at the Complutense University of Madrid and obtained her Doctorate with a thesis performed during her doctoral Fellowship in Deutsches Elektronen Synchrotron (DESY), Hamburg, Germany (Summa Cum Laude).

Charles Cockell

Co Investigator

Prof. Charles Cockell, University of Edinburgh, will study the habitability in brines under Martian environmental conditions, and analog site testing. He will serve as a scientific coinvestigator during development of HABIT and operational phases of the instrument's investigations , as well as in the assessment of the habitability potential.

James Wray

Co Investigator

Dr. James J. Wray is currently Associate Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, USA. He is Co-Investigator of the NASA's High Resolution Imaging Sccience Experiment (HiRISE) and of the ESA's Colour and Stero Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS), contibuting his expertise in image analysis to HABIT's studies.

Michael Mischna

Co Investigator

Dr. Michael Mischna, Jet Propulsion Laboratory/CalTech, is a planetary scientist who specializes in climate modeling of terrestrial planets, with significant experience in modeling the martian atmosphere and its cycles (CO2, dust, water vapor). His role in the HABIT project will be to provide general circulation model simulations of the past and present martian climate and evolution.

Martin Lee

Co Investigator

Prof. Martin Lee, University of Glasgow, is a planetary geologist. He has studied the mineralogy and chemical composition of the martian crust through the analysis of meteorites, focused on the nature and origins of salt and clay minerals. He will provide the interpretation of the implications of results for understanding interactions between rock/regolith and the martian atmosphere.

Petra Rettberg

Co Investigator

Dr. Petra Rettberg, German Aerospace Center, has focused her research career on astrobiology, with a particular interest in habitability and the limits of life. This also includes planetary protection projects and the implementation of planetary protection protocols, two defining aspects of the ExoMars 2018 mission. She will contribute to the optimal exploitation of HABIT data.

Ernesto Palomba

Co Investigator

Dr. Ernesto Palomba, Planetary Scientist at IAPS-INAF, has experience in the design, development and calibration of instruments for Solar System studies, and in the analysis of spectral and hyperspectral Vis-IR data. He has also experience on surface composition of Mars and asteroids (compared with SNC and HED), Carbonaceous Chondrites meteorites and analogues.

Ozgur Karatekin

Co Investigator

Dr. Ozgur Karatekin, Royal Observatory of Belgium, will be involved in the ground testing, validation, and calibration of the HABIT measurements. He will work on the implementation and analysis of the experiments during the flight tests and Martian entry decent and landing, and he will take part in the analysis of the HABIT data to better understand the Martian water cycle.

Henry Sun

Co Investigator

Dr. Henry Sun, Desert Research Institute, will investigate the history of habitability on Mars from a geomicrobiological perspective. He is an expert on endolithic (inside rocks) microorganisms and has studied these organisms in terrestrial analogs, including the Antarctic dry valleys. He will help interpret how environmental conditions determine hypothetical endolithic organisms on Mars.

Gilbert Levin

Co Investigator

Dr. Gilbert Levin was the Principal Investigator of the ‘Labeled Release Experiment’ performed on Mars by the Viking Landers in 1976, and has developed a long career mainly focused on the development of methods for the detection and identification of microbial organisms. His knowledge in this field will enrich the scientific analysis of HABIT data regarding the Martian environment.

Oddur Vilhelmsson

Co Investigator

Prof. Oddur Vilhelmsson, University of Akureyri, is an environmental microbiologist and will study the composition and activities of the microbiotas in surface and subsurface Mars analog sites in Iceland. He will also be involved in ground testing of HABIT during the development and calibration of the instrument and in the assessment of the habitability potential from its data.

Rafael Navarro-Gonzalez

Co Investigator

Prof. Rafael Navarro-González is an astrobiologist at National Autonomous University of Mexico, with interests on the past, present and future habitability of Mars. He is a Co-Investigator for the Sample Analysis at Mars Instrument Suit onboard Curiosity, and he will provide experimental and theoretical data to help understand the formation of Martian brines.

Peter Read


Co Investigator

Prof. Peter Read, University of Oxford, U.K., brings to the HABIT investigation more than 30 years experience in studies of the Martian atmosphere and near-surface environment. He will provide advice and assistance in the interpretation of HABIT measurements, allowing an evaluation of the possible extent of potentially habitable sites.

Catharine Conley


Co Investigator

Dr. Catharine Conley is an astrobiologist whose research involves understanding survival of animals in hyperarid Mars-analogue environments and animal adaptations to altered gravity, as well as developing statistical frameworks for establishing confidence limits on detections of extraterrestrial life. Her role on the HABIT team will include supporting habitability assessments, with a focus on multicellular organisms.

Collaborators

Victoria Hipkin

Collaborator

John Rummel

Collaborator

Yasko Kasai

Collaborator

Patricia Straat

Collaborator

Colin Wilson

Collaborator

Usui Tomohiro

Collaborator

Eizo Nakamura

Collaborator

Natalia Duxbury

Collaborator