Department of Astronomy Center for Radiophysics & Space Research

Alberto G. Fairén

Research Associate
Alberto G. Fairén

Alberto Fairén's research focuses in the fields of Planetary Sciences and Astrobiology, with particular emphasis in the understanding of the early Mars environments. His research interests in Martian science are broad, spanning from aqueous mineralogy, surface composition and habitability, to robotic exploration and mission design. His research activities include a combination of theoretical modeling, laboratory experiments, field work and spacecraft data analysis. Dr. Fairén's scientific projects and publications include analyses of the time of operation of the inner magnetic dynamo, the evolution of the lithosphere, global geomorphology, volcanology and tectonics, impact cratering and meteorites on and from Mars, the history and distribution of water, the evolution of fluvial features, aqueous mineralogy (including analyses of clays, carbonates, sulfates, and other salts), climate modeling, the origin of atmospheric methane, exploration of hydrothermal targets, the astrobiological significance of different martian environments, the search for biosignatures, and the exploration of terrestrial Mars analogs. Alberto Fairén is Associate Editor of the journal "Mars, The International Journal of Mars Science and Exploration", the 2012 recipient of the Urey Prize, and U.S. delegate to the EAS's ExoMars Landing Site Selection Working Group (LSSWG). Dr. Fairén has also published 150+ articles of popular science (Planetology, Astrobiology and Molecular Biology) in newspapers, magazines and webs in Spain and South America (in Spanish).



MSL Curiosity, Science Team Collaborator: SAM and APXS.

MER-B Opportunity, Athena Science Team Member.



Publications: ADS Database, Google Scholar

Selected publications:

Fairén et al. (2014). A cold hydrological system in Gale crater, Mars. Planetary and Space Science, 93-94, 101-118.

Arvidson et al., including Fairén (2014). Ancient aqueous environments at Endeavour Crater, Mars. Science, 343, 387.

Ming et al., including Fairén (2014). Volatile and organic compositions of sedimentary rocks in Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars. Science, 343, 388.

Fairén & Schulze-Makuch (2013). The overprotection of Mars. Nature Geoscience, 6, 510-511.

Fairén (2013). Mars: Evolution, Geology and Exploration (Editor). NOVA Publishers. ISBN: 978-1-62618-102-1. 310 pp.

Fairén et al. (2012). Reduced albedo on early Mars does not solve the climate paradox under a faint young Sun. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 540, A13.

Fairén et al. (2012). Glacial paleoenvironments on Mars revealed by the paucity of hydrated silicates in the Noachian crust of the Northern Lowlands. Planetary and Space Science, 70, 126–133.

Fairén et al. (2011). Cold glacial oceans would have inhibited phyllosilicate sedimentation on early Mars. Nature Geoscience, 4, 667-670. (Highlighted in Science: Why no clay up North?).

Fairén et al. (2011). Meteorites at Meridiani Planum provide evidence for significant amounts of surface and near‐surface water on early Mars. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 46, 1832–1841.

Fairén et al. (2010). Noachian and more recent phyllosilicates in impact craters on Mars. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 107, 12095-12100.

Fairén (2010). A cold and wet Mars. Icarus, 208, 165-175.

Fairén (2010). Refilling the oceans of early Mars. Nature Geoscience, 3, 452-453.

Fairén et al. (2010). Astrobiology through the ages of Mars: the study of terrestrial analogues to understand the habitability of Mars. Astrobiology, 10, 821-843.

Fairén et al., (2009). Evidence for Amazonian acidic liquid water on Mars—A reinterpretation of MER mission results. Planetary and Space Science, 57, 276-287.

Fairén et al. (2009). Stability against freezing of aqueous solutions on early Mars. Nature, 459 (7245), 401-404.

Fairén et al. (2008). The case for a cold and wet Mars. Planet Mars Research Focus, NOVA Publishers, pp. 187-215, ISBN: 1-60021-826-1.

Fairén et al. (2008). Finding of unusual soil on Mars could stem from tools used. Nature, 456, 870.

Fairén et al. (2005). Prime candidate sites for astrobiological exploration through the hydrogeological history of Mars. Planetary and Space Science, 53, 1355-1375.

Fairén & Dohm (2004). Age and origin of the lowlands of Mars. Icarus, 168, 277-284.

Fairén et al. (2004). Inhibition of carbonate synthesis in acidic oceans on early Mars. Nature, 431, 423-426.

Fairén et al. (2003). Episodic flood inundations of the northern plains of Mars. Icarus, 165, 53-67.

Fairén et al. (2002). An origin for the linear magnetic anomalies on Mars through accretion of terranes: implications for dynamo timing. Icarus, 160, 220–223.


Interviews, Profiles and Perspectives:

Nature, Astronomy, Science

Scientific Divulgation (in Spanish):

Astrobiología (libro), Astronomía,

El País, El Mundo, El Mundo 2, LaVanguardia, Deslinde

Planetario de Madrid