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Alberto G. Fairén

Visiting Scientist, CCAPS


My research focuses on Planetary Sciences and Astrobiology, with particular emphasis in the understanding of the early Mars environments.



  • NASA: MER-B Opportunity, Athena Science Team Member (2012-2014).
  • NASA: MSL Curiosity, Science Team Member on SAM (2012-2014), APXS (2012-2014) and REMS (2014-present).
  • NASA: InSight, Collaborator on TWINS.
  • NASA: Mars2020, Collaborator on MEDA.
  • ESA: ExoMars, Member of the Rover Science Operations Working Group, Science Team Member on PanCam and CLUPI, and Member of the Landing Site Selection Working Group (LSSWG).


  • Astronomy


  • Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science


  • Azua-Bustos et al., including Fairén (2019). Aeolian transport of viable microbial life across the Atacama Desert, Chile: Implications for Mars. Nature Scientific Reports, 9, 11024.
  • Azua-Bustos, Fairén, et al. (2018). Unprecedented rains decimate surface microbial communities in the hyperarid core of the Atacama Desert. Nature Scientific Reports, 8, 16706.
  • Bishop, Fairén, et al. (2018). Surface clay formation during short-term warmer and wetter conditions on a largely cold ancient Mars. Nature Astronomy, 2, 206-213.
  • Fairén (2017). Icy Mars lakes warmed by methane. Nature Geoscience, 10, 717-718.
  • Hurowitz et al., including Fairén (2017). Redox stratification of an ancient lake in Gale crater, Mars. Science, 356, eaah6849.
  • Bristow et al., including Fairén (2017). Low Hesperian pCO2 constrained from in situ mineralogical analysis at Gale crater, Mars. PNAS, 114, 2166-2170.
  • Gil-Lozano et al., including Fairén (2017). Quantifying Fenton reaction pathways driven by self-generated H2O2 on pyrite surfaces. Nature Scientific Reports, 7, 43703.
  • Rodríguez, Fairén, et al. (2016). Tsunami waves extensively resurfaced the shorelines of an early Martian ocean. Nature Scientific Reports, 6, 25106.
  • Stern et al., including Fairén (2015). Evidence for indigenous nitrogen in sedimentary and aeolian deposits from the Curiosity rover investigations at Gale crater, Mars. PNAS, 112, 4245-4250.
  • Rodríguez et al., including Fairén (2015). Martian outflow channels: How did their source aquifers form, and why did they drain so rapidly? Nature Scientific Reports, 5, 13404.
  • Fairén (2014). The Mars rovers 200 years from now. Science, 343, 24.
  • 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 et al. (2011). Cold glacial oceans would have inhibited phyllosilicate sedimentation on early Mars. Nature Geoscience, 4, 667-670.
  • Fairén et al. (2010). Noachian and more recent phyllosilicates in impact craters on Mars. PNAS, 107, 12095-12100.
  • Fairén (2010). Refilling the oceans of early Mars. Nature Geoscience, 3, 452-453.
  • Fairén et al. (2009). Stability against freezing of aqueous solutions on early Mars. Nature, 459 (7245), 401-404.
  • Fairén et al. (2008). Finding of unusual soil on Mars could stem from tools used. Nature, 456, 870.
  • Fairén (2005). What should we call Pluto? Science, 310, 53-54.
  • Fairén et al. (2004). Inhibition of carbonate synthesis in acidic oceans on early Mars. Nature, 431, 423-426.



Alberto has published 3 books and over 230 articles of popular science (Planetology, Astrobiology and Molecular Biology) in newspapers, magazines and webs in Spain and South America (in Spanish).