Professor John Bridges

Mars, Stardust, comets, nakhlites, SNC, martian meteorites, Diamond synchrotron, Mars Science Laboratory, CaSSIS, ExoMars

photoProfessor of Planetary Science

BSc, Dip.Phys.Sci.,  PhD, FGS, FRAS

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2007


Office: Room 201b

Address: Space Research Centre, Michael Atiyah Building, University of Leicester

LE1 7RH, Leicester, UK


Research interests

At the Space Research Centre we use a range of techniques (scanning electron microscopes, transmission electron microscopes, focused ion beam, Diamond synchrotron) to study early Solar System processes related to the origin of asteroids and comets, and the evolution of Mars.  In particular, we study cometary samples returned by the Stardust mission, asteroid samples returned from S-class asteroid Itokawa by the Hayabusa mission, and martian meteorites including the nakhlites with their unique hydrothemal assemblage that we have characterised, and the NWA 7034 regolith breccia.  You can read about our Stardust cometary analyses here.

We also use remote images and spectral data to study the surface of planetary bodies, particularly the evolution of the Mars surface and climate.  For instance, the CASSIS stereo, colour camera, which is part of the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter for 2016 is one of the new ways we will study the Mars surface. As a member of the Eurpoean Landing Site Selection Working Group I look at the places where we may land the ExoMars 2018 (launch) rover, in particular using HiRISE imagery.

I am also a participating scientist and ChemCam team member on the NASA Mars Science Laboratory mission, one of the most ambitious planetary missions ever achieved. You can follow the progress of Mars Science Laboratory by reading my blog and see more about our Mars surface and meteorite research.

Follow our activities via twitter @LeicsPlanets

Recent Mission Involvement

2013- HiRISE Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter camera team member

2013- ExoMars/Roscosmos 2018 Rover Landing Site Selection Steering Group

2013- Hayabusa Sample Allocation Committee

2012-14 Member of the UK Space Agency Space Exploration Advisory Committee

2011- Mars Science Laboratory Participating Scientist team leader and MSL ChemCam team member

2010- CaSSIS Stereo, colour imager, Co-I for the 2016 ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter

2008 Member of Mars Sample Return planning team (iMARS 2008).

2007- ExoMars PanCam Co-I

2006- Stardust Mineralogy team member

2003 Beagle2



In the Academic year 2015/16 I taught Foundation Course Mechanics, 3642/3073 Planetary Science, 4634 Planetary Surfaces and Atmospheres, 2nd year laboratories, SEEDS MSc planetary science module.

I supervised SURE, Nuffield and Paneth student internships, and 3rd and 4th year Physics, Natural Sciences undergraduate projects.

2014-16 External examiner for the Birkbeck, University of London, Planetary Science with Astronomy BSc.


Recent Research Students

C. Bedford (2015-) Co-supervisor on OU NERC funded project to study water-rock reaction at Gale Crater with Mars Science Laboratory data.

P. Edwards (2013-) Co-supervisor of UKSA-funded studentship to study MSL data and Raman spectroscopy in preparation for future missions.

J. MacArthur (2014-) Lead supervisor on STFC-funded PhD to study martian and cometary samples.

S.Turner (2012-16) Lead supervisor on STFC/NERC Case studentship with British Geological Survey on CRISM, HiRISE remote sensing of martian surface.

L. Hicks (2010-2014) Lead supervisor on STFC-funded, cometary and martian studies.

H. Changela (2007-2011) Lead supervisor on STFC-funded, cometary and martian studies.

R. Henson (2015-) Lead supervisor on STFC-funded MPhil to study Mars surface with CaSSIS and HiRISE imagery.


Selected Publications

Most of my papers can be seen at: Google Scholar Publications and Metrics

and the Leicester Research Archive

2016 papers

Schwenzer S.P., Bridges J.C., Wiens R.C., Conrad P.G., Kelley S.P., Leveille R., Mangold N., Martin-Torres J., McAdam A., Newsom H., Zorzanpo M.P., Rapin W., Spray J., Treiman A.H., Westall F., Fairen A.G. and Meslin P., -Y. 2016 Fluids during diagenesis and sulfate vein formation in sediments at Gale Crater, Mars. Meteoritics and Planetary Science 1-28

Turner S.M.R., Bridges J.C., Grebby S. and Ehlmann B.L. 2016 Hydrothermal activity recorded in post Noachian-aged impact craters on Mars.  J. of Geophysical Research (Planets) DOI 10.1002/2015JE004989

2015 Papers

Bridges J.C., Schwenzer S.P., Leveille R., Westall F., Wiens R.C., Mangold N., Bristow T., Edwards P. and Berger G. 2015 Diagenesis and clay mineral formation at Gale Crater, Mars. J. of Geophysical Research, DOI: 10.1002/2014JE004757

Webster C.R., P. R. Mahaffy,S. K. Atreya, G. J. Flesch, M. A. Mischna, P-Y Meslin, K. A. Farley, P. G. Conrad, L. E. Christensen, A. A. Pavlov, J. Martín-Torres, M-P. Zorzano, T> H. McConnochie, T. Owen, J. L. Eigenbrode, D. P. Glavin, A. Steele, C. A. Malespin, P. D. Archer, Jr., B. Sutter, P. Coll, C. Freissinet, C. P. McKay, J. E. Moores, S. P. Schwenzer, J.C. Bridges, R.Navarro-Gonzale, R. Gellert, M. T. Lemmon and the MSL Science Team.  Mars Methane Detection and Variability at Gale Crater. 2015 Science.

2014 Papers

Hicks L.J, Bridges J.C. and Gurman S.J. 2014 Ferric Saponite and Serpentine in the Nakhlite Martian Meteorites. Geochim. Cosmochim Acta, 136, 194-210.

Anderson, R. B., Bridges, J. C., Williams, A., Edgar, L., Ollila, A., Williams, J., Nachon, M., Mangold, N., Fisk, M., Schieber, J., Gupta, S., Dromart, G., Wiens, R., Le Mouélic, S., Forni, O., Lanza, N., Mezzacappa, A., Sautter, V., Blaney, D., Clark, B., Clegg, S., Gasnault, O., Lasue, J., Léveillé, R., Lewin, E., Lewis, K., Maurice, S., Newson, H., Schwenzer, S. P., Vaniman, D. (2014): ChemCam Results from the Shaler Outcrop in Gale Crater, Mars.– Icarus, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2014.07.025

Blaney D. L., Wiens, R. C., Maurice, S., Clegg, S. M., Anderson, R. B., Kah, L. C., Le Mouélic, S., Ollila, A., Bridges, N., Tokar, R., Berger, G., Bridges, J. C., Cousin, A., Clark, B., Dyar, M. D., King, P. L., Lanza, N., Mangold, N., Meslin, P.-Y., Newsom, H., Schröder, S., Rowland, S., Johnson, J., Edgar, L., Gasnault, O., Forni, O., Schmidt, M., Goetz, W., Stack, K., Sumner, D., Fisk, M., Maden, M. B. and the MSL Science Team (2014): Chemistry and texture of the rocks at Rocknest, Gale Crater: Evidence for sedimentary origin and diagenetic alteration.– Journal of Geophys. Res. Planets, DOI: 10.1002/2013JE004590.

Léveillé, R. J., Bridges, J., Wiens, R. C., Mangold, N., Cousin, A., Lanza, N., Forni, O., Ollila, A., Grotzinger, J., Clegg, S., Siebach, K., Berger, G., Clark, B., Fabre, C., Anderson, R., Gasnault, O., Blaney, D., Deflores, L., Leshin, L., Maurice, S. and Newsom, H. (2014): Chemistry of fracture-filling raised ridges in Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater: window into past aqueous activity and habitability on Mars.– Journal of Geophysical Research: doi:10.1002/2014JE004620.

Westphal A.J., Stroud, R.M., Bechtel, H.A.,  Brenker, F.E., Butterworth, A.L., Flynn, G.J., Frank, D.R., Gainsforth, Z., Hillier, J.K., Postberg, F., Simionovici, A.S., Sterken, V.J., Nittler, L.R., Allen, C., Anderson, D., Ansari, A., Bajt, S., Bastien, R.K., Bassim, N., Bridges J., Brownlee, D.E., Burchell, M., Burghammer, M., Changela, H., Cloetens, P., Davis, A.M., Doll, R., Floss, C., Grün, E., Heck, P.R., Hoppe, P., Hudson, B., Huth, J., Kearsley, A., King, A.J., Lai, B., Leitner, J., Lemelle, L., Leonard, A., Leroux, H., Lettieri, R., Marchant, W., Ogliore, R., Ong, W.J., Price, M.C., Sandford, S.A., Sans Tresseras, J.-A., Schmitz, S., Schoonjans, T., Schreiber, K., Silversmit, G., Solé, V.A., Srama, R.A., Stadermann, F., Stephan, T., Stodolna, J., Sutton, S., Trieloff, M., Tsou, P., Tyliszczak, T., Vekemans, B., Vincze, L., Von Korff, J., Wordsworth, N., Zevin, D., Zolensky, M.E. and Stardust@home dusters Science (2014): Evidence for interstellar origin of seven dust particles collected by the Stardust spacecraft. Science 345: 786–791 DOI: 10.1126/science.1252496.

Stardust Special Issue: Stardust-Interstellar Dust Special Issue or Stardust Special Issue 2014 Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 49, 1509-1733. Twelve papers.

2013 Papers

Williams R. M. E., Grotzinger J. P., Dietrich W. E., Gupta S., Sumner D. Y.,Wiens R. C., Mangold N., Malin M. C., Edgett K. S., Maurice S., Forni O., Gasnault O.,Ollila A., Newsom H. E., Dromart G., Palucis M. C., Yingst R. A., Anderson R. B.,Herkenhoff K. E., Le Mouélic S., Goetz W., Madsen M. B., Koefoed A., Jensen J. K.,Bridges J. C., Schwenzer S. P., Lewis K. W., Stack K. M., Rubin D., Kah L. C.,Bell III J. F., Farmer J. D., Sullivan R., Van Beek T., Blaney D. L., Pariser O.,Deen R. G., MSL Science Team (2013).  Martian Fluvial Conglomerates at Gale Crater.  Science, 340, 1068-1072.  10.1126/science.1237317


Yingst RA, LC Kah, M Palucis, RME Williams, J Garvin, JC Bridges, N Bridges, RG Deen, J Farmer, O Gasnault, W Goetz, VE Hamilton, V Hipkin, JK Jensen, PL King, A Koefoed, SP Le Mouélic, MB Madsen, N Mangold, J Martinez‐Frias, S Maurice, EM McCartney, H Newsom, O Pariser, VH Sautter, RC Wiens. 2013 Characteristics of pebble‐and cobble‐sized clasts along the Curiosity rover traverse from Bradbury Landing to Rocknest. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 118 (11), 2361-2380


Schmidt ME, JL Campbell, R Gellert, GM Perrett, AH Treiman, DL Blaney, A Olilla, FJ Calef, L Edgar, BE Elliott, J Grotzinger, J Hurowitz, PL King, ME Minitti, V Sautter, K Stack, JA Berger, JC Bridges, BL Ehlmann, O Forni, LA Leshin, KW Lewis, SM McLennan, DW Ming, H Newsom, I Pradler, SW Squyres, EM Stolper, L Thompson, S VanBommel, RC Wiens. 2013 Geochemical diversity in first rocks examined by the Curiosity Rover in Gale Crater: Evidence for and significance of an alkali and volatile‐rich igneous source. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 118 (11), doi 10.1002/2013JE004481


Ollila Ann M., Horton E Newsom, Benton Clark, Roger C Wiens, Agnes Cousin, Jen G Blank, Nicolas Mangold, Violaine Sautter, Sylvestre Maurice, Samuel M Clegg, Olivier Gasnault, Olivier Forni, Robert Tokar, Eric Lewin, M Darby Dyar, Jeremie Lasue, Ryan Anderson, Scott M McLennan, John Bridges, Dave Vaniman, Nina Lanza, Cecile Fabre, Noureddine Melikechi, Glynis M Perrett, John L Campbell, Penelope L King, Bruce Barraclough, Dorothea Delapp, Stephen Johnstone, Pierre‐Yves Meslin, Anya Rosen‐Gooding, Josh Williams 2013 Trace Element Geochemistry (Li, Ba, Sr, and Rb) using Curiosity’s ChemCam: Early Results for Gale Crater from Bradbury Landing Site to Rocknest. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 118 (11),doi 10.1002/2013JE004517


McLennan, S. M. and Anderson, R. B. and Bell, J. F., III and Bridges , J. C. and Calef, F. and Campbell, J. L. and Clark, B. C. and Clegg, S. and Conrad, P. and Cousin, A. and Des Marais, D. J. and Dromart, G. and Dyar, M. D. and Edgar, L. A. and Ehlmann, B. L. and Fabre, C. and Forni, O. and Gasnault, O. and Gellert, R. and Gordon, S. and Grant, A. and Grotzinger, J. P. and Gupta, S. and Herkenhoff, K. E. and Hurowitz, J. A. and King, P. L. and Le Mouélic, S. and Leshin, L. A. and Léveillé, R. and Lewis, K. W. and Mangold, N. and Maurice, S. and Ming, D. W. and Morris, R. V. and Nachon, M. and Newsom, H. E. and Ollila, A. and Perrett, G. M. and Rice, M. S. and Schmidt, M. E. and Schwenzer, S. P. and Stack, K. and Stolper, E. M. and Sumner, D. Y. and Treiman, A. H. and VanBommel, S. and Vaniman, D. T. and Vasavada, A. and Wiens, R. C. and Yingst, R. A. (2013) Elemental Geochemistry of Sedimentary Rocks at Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars. Science, 342 . Art. no. 1244734. ISSN 0036-8075.


V Sautter, C Fabre, O Forni, MJ Toplis, A Cousin, AM Ollila, PY Meslin, S Maurice, RC Wiens, D Baratoux, N Mangold, S Le Mouélic, O Gasnault, G Berger, J Lasue, RA Anderson, E Lewin, M Schmidt, D Dyar, BL Ehlmann, J Bridges, B Clark, P Pinet. 2013. Igneous mineralogy at Bradbury Rise: The first ChemCam campaign at Gale crater J. of Geophysical Research (Planets) DOI: 10.1002/2013JE004472


2012 Papers

Bridges J.C et al. (2012) Chondrule Fragments from Comet Wild2: Evidence for High Temperature Processing in the Outer Solar System. Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

Bridges J.C. and Schwenzer S.P. 2012 The Nakhlite Hydrothermal Brine. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 359, 117–123.

Changela H.G., Bridges J.C. and Gurman S.J. (2012) Extended X-ray Absorption Fine Structure (EXAFS) in Stardust Tracks: Constraining the origin of ferric iron-bearing minerals. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta

Cockell C.S., Balme M.R., Bridges J.C., Davila A. and Schwenzer S.P. Uninhabited Habitats on Mars. 2012 Icarus.  217, 184-193.

Schwenzer, S. P.; Abramov, O.; Allen, C. C.; Bridges, J. C.; Clifford, S. M.; Filiberto, J.; Kring, D. A.; Lasue, J.; McGovern, P. J.; Newsom, H. E; Treiman, A. H.; Vaniman , D. T.; Wiens, R. C. and Wittmann, A. 2012. Gale Crater: formation and post-impact hydrous environments. Planetary and Space Science, 70(1), pp. 84–95.


2011 Papers

Bridges J. and Hagermann A. 2011 UK Mars research and priorities in the Aurora programme. Astronomy & Geophysics, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp. 2.34-2.36

S., Cha S-H., and Bridges J.C. 2011 The tidal downsizing hypothesis for planet formation and the composition of Solar system comets. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 416, L50–L54.

Williams H.R., Bridges J.C., Ambrosi R.M., Perkinson M-C., Reed J., Peacocke L., Bannister N.P., Howe S.D., O’Brien R.C., Klein A.C. 2011 Mars Reconnaissance Lander: Vehicle and mission design. Planetary and Space Science 59, 1621–1631

Bridges J.C. and Guest M. 2011 Planetary Protection and Mars Sample Return. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part G: Journal of Aerospace Engineering.  225, 239-246.


2010 Papers

Bridges J.C., M. J. Burchell, H. C. Changela, N. J. Foster, J. A. Creighton, J. D. Carpenter, S. J.  Gurman, I. A. Franchi and H. Busemann. 2010 Iron oxides in Comet 81P/Wild 2 Samples.  Meteorit. Planet. Sci. 45, 55-72.

Changela H.G. and Bridges J.C. 2010 Alteration Assemblages in the Nakhlites: Variation with Depth on Mars.  Meteorit. Planet. Sci. 45, 1847-1867.

Price M.C., Kearsley A.T.; Burchell M.J., Bridges J.C. et al. 2010 Comet 81P/Wild 2: The size distribution of finer (sub-10 mm) dust collected by the Stardust spacecraft.  Meteorit. Planet. Sci.  Volume: 45, 1409-1428.



Recent Conferences Organised

Nov. 2016 Crustal Differentiation on Mars: A New Perspective Forty years After Viking. RAS meeting

May. 2015 Co-organiser 4th UK in Aurora programme Meeting

Sept. 2013 Co-Organiser of the Mars Science Laboratory Session at European Planetary Science Conference.

Jan. 2013 Organiser of the Royal Astronomical Society meeting 3rd UK in the Aurora Meeting.

Nov. 2011 Co-organiser and session chair of community meeting for the UK planetary science community to help decide on future priorities for Solar System exploration activities.

Oct. 2011 European Planetary Science Conference session co-organiser about ExoMars instrumentation and science.

Jan. 2011 Royal Astronomical Society meeting ‘UK in the Aurora Mars programme’

June 2009 Co-organised the UKSA-sponsored ‘Habitability and Landing Sites on Mars’ workshop.

Dec. 2008 Royal Astronomical Society meeting ‘UK in the Aurora Mars programme’.

Oct. 2007 Royal Astronomical Society meeting ‘Early Solar System Processes’.


Science Communication

I give numerous outreach talks to the National Space Centre, local astronomical societies, schools, local and national media, about Mars Science Laboratory and other topics. I am a Project scientist for the National Space Academy with the aim of using MSL topics for teaching resources.

Some Recent Outreach and Invited Talks

2012- >55 talks to a variety of societies and groups about Mars Science Laboratory, >25 national (Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Radio 4, BBC Sky at Night) and local media activities (BBC Leicester, Leicester Mercury) about MSL.  One example is a talk at the National Space Academy, live from JPL on MSL landing night.

Nov. 2015 University College London about Stardust cometary analyses

Feb. 2015 University of Edinburgh about recent discoveries in Mars science

Jan. 2015 Royal Society, HiRISE images of Beagle2 lander

Dec. 2014 Session keynote talk at AGU-Fall meeting on Mars Science Laboratory and related nakhlite mineralogy

Jan. 2014 University of Kent, School of Physical Sciences seminar about about Mars Science Laboratory

June-Sept. 2013 Four of the University ‘Discoveries at Leicester’ Open Day talks (June, July, Sept.) aimed at prospective students.

May 2013 Open University CEPSAR lecture about Mars Science Laboratory

April 2013 British Astronomical Association about Mars Science Laboratory

March 2013 Institute of Physics, Derby about Mars Science Laboratory

Feb. 2013 UKSEDS National Student Space Conference 2013 about Mars Science Laboratory

Dec. 2011 Session keynote talk at AGU-Fall meeting on my martian meteorite research

Jan. 2011 ESA-NASA conference (Leiden, Netherlands and ESTEC) about future landing site activities.

Jan. 2011 Royal Astronomical Society specialist discussion meeting about comets.

Nov. 2010 Two talks about planetary materials applications for current beamlines at Diamond and a planned new beamline.

Sept. 2009 British Association for the Advancement of Science, Mars research.

Sept. 2008 British Association for the Advancement of Science, about the Diamond analyses of Comet Wild2.

July 2008 Organised a Royal Society Summer Exhibit: 'Exploring the Solar System: Mankind or Machine'



2015- Professor of Planetary Sciences

2015- Earth and Planetary Science Letters journal Editorial Advisory Board

2014- Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

2013 Visiting Professor, Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie, Toulouse

2012- Reader in Planetary Science, University of Leicester

2012- Science Associate, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

2007 RCUK Academic Fellow, Space Research Centre, University of Leicester

2005-2011 Associate Lecturer Open University S283, SXR208 Planetary Science and Astronomy

2003-2007 Planetary Science researcher at PSSRI, Open University

2003 Beagle 2 Mars mission researcher

2003 Researcher at UCLA and NASA Johnson Space Center, working on lunar and martian science

1992-2003 Planetary Science researcher, Mineralogy Department, Natural History Museum

1988-1992 PhD, Open University

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