Dr Mark Fox-Powell
My interests lie in maximising scientific return from upcoming or current planetary missions, particularly those that are exploring potential habitats for extraterrestrial life. In my research, I apply a range of geochemical, spectroscopic and microbiological techniques to answer questions central to the ongoing exploration of the solar system. My PhD at the University of Edinburgh investigated the geochemical constraints on habitability in simulated martian brines, and provided new insights into how the differences in aqueous chemistry on Earth and Mars has helped drive the differences in habitability we see today.
As a Leverhulme-funded research fellow at the University of St Andrews, working with Dr Claire Cousins (PI), I am using a combined field and laboratory approach to investigate how signatures of microbial life might become delivered to and preserved on the surfaces of icy moons such as Europa and Enceladus, and how they might be detectable to spacecraft.
Fox-Powell, M. G., Channing, A., Applin, D., Mann, P., Cloutis E. & Cousins, C. R. (2018) Cryogenic silicification of microorganisms in hydrothermal fluids. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 498 1-8
Stevens, A. H., Childers, D., Fox-Powell, M. G., Nicholson, N., Jhoti, E. & Cockell, C. S. (2018) Growth, viability and death of planktonic and biofilm Sphingomonas desiccabilis in simulated martian brines. Astrobiology doi:10.1089/ast.2018.1840
Fox-Powell, M. G. & Cockell, C. S. (2018) Building a geochemical view of microbial salt tolerance: Halophilic adaptation of Marinococcus in a natural magnesium sulfate brine. Frontiers in Microbiology 9: 739
Cockell C. S., Biller B., Bryce C., Cousins C., Direito S., Forgan D., Fox-Powell M. G., Harrison J., Landenmark H., Nixon S., Payler S. J., Rice K., Samuels T., Schwendner P., Stevens A., Nicholson N., & Wadsworth J. (2018) The UK Centre for Astrobiology: A Virtual Astrobiology Centre. Accomplishments and Lessons Learned, 2011–2016. Astrobiology 18 (2) 224-243
Fox-Powell, M. G., Hallsworth, J. E., Cousins, C. R. & Cockell, C. S. (2016) Ionic strength is a barrier to the habitability of Mars. Astrobiology 16 (6) 427-442
Cockell, C. S., Bush, T., Bryce, C., Direito, S., Fox-Powell, M. G., Harrison, J. P., et al., Habitability: A Review. Astrobiology 16: 89-117 (2016)
Stevenson, A., Burkhardt, J., Cockell, C. S., Cray, J. A., Dijksterhuis, J., Fox-Powell, M. G., et al., Multiplication of microbes below 0.690 water activity: implications for terrestrial and extraterrestrial life. Environmental Microbiology 17 (2) 257-277 (2014)
Fox-Powell, M. G., Osinski, G. R., Applin, D., Stromberg, J., Allender, E., Gasquez, F., Cloutis, E. & Cousins, C. R. (Submitted) Geochemical and spectral constraints on Europan non-icy material from natural analogues. Geophysical Research Letters
Payler, S. J., Biddle., J. F., Sherwood Lollar, B., Fox-Powell, M. G., Edwards, T., Ngwenya, B. T., Paling, S. M. & Cockell, C. S. (Submitted) An Ionic Limit to Life in the Deep Subsurface. Frontiers in Microbiology
4 (of 4 published available) for mgfp. (source: University of St Andrews PURE)
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Frontiers in Microbiology
Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Charles S. Cockell, Beth Biller, Casey Bryce, Claire Rachel Cousins, Susana Direito, Duncan Forgan, Mark George Fox-Powell, Jesse Harrison, Hanna Landenmark, Sophie Nixon, Samuel J. Payler, Ken Rice, Toby Samuels, Petra Schwendner, Adam Stevens, Natasha Nicholson, Jennifer Wadsworth
Keywords: Astrobiology, Centre, Education, Analog research, Subsurface