Dr. Susanne P. Schwenzer
Dr. Susanne P. Schwenzer is a mineralogist and planetary scientist, who specializes in fluid-rock interactions. She is currently focusing on the exploration of Mars as a member of the NASA Curiosity rover and the ESA ExoMars Rosalind Franklin rover science teams, and is an associate director of the AstrobiologyOU group at The Open University (Milton Keynes UK).
Her research focuses on the interaction of volatiles— ranging from noble gases to water— with solid materials on planetary bodies. During her Ph.D., she focused on a very specific set of volatiles: noble gases. Working at Max-Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz (Germany) she investigated the interaction of the martian atmosphere with rock by measuring noble gas signatures in martian meteorites and subsequently joined the Curiosity’s SAM team in studying the noble gases in the martian atmosphere. Starting with her undergraduate work, she investigated a more commonly studied volatile: water. Her research focused on water-rock interactions in the form of hydrothermal systems and their effects on the primary mineralogy in terrestrial settings. During her time as postdoctoral researcher at the LPI she transferred those skills to modeling impact-generated hydrothermal systems on Mars —and is now, together with members of her own group at The Open University, studying a wide range of settings on a variety of bodies from Earth to Mars and icy moons. Currently, her focus is Gale crater, where she investigates the diagenetic and evaporation scenarios represented by the sedimentary sequences and alteration mineralogy found by the Curiosity rover, and the investigation of Mars' alteration more widely in the context of meteorites, and the ExoMars Rosalind Franklin rover landing site.