Department of Astronomy Center for Radiophysics & Space Research

Alberto G. Fairén

Visiting Scientist
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.

PI of the ERC Starting Grant icyMARS.

2012 recipient of the AAS-DPS Urey Prize.




  • NASA: MER-B Opportunity, Athena Science Team Member (2012-2014).
  • NASA: MSL Curiosity, Science Team Collaborator 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 Landing Site Selection Working Group (LSSWG).



ADS Database, Google Scholar, ResearchGate

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. (March issue cover).

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, MarsScience, 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. (Highlighted in Science: Why no clay up North?).

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 200 articles of popular science (Planetology, Astrobiology and Molecular Biology) in newspapers, magazines and webs in Spain and South America (in Spanish). Some examples:

Astrobiología (libro), Astronomía,

El País, ABC, La Vanguardia, La Vanguardia2, El Mundo, El Mundo2, Deslinde

Planetario de Madrid