Professor John Bridges

Professor of Planetary Science

Department: Physics & Astronomy, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2007



Professor John Bridges BSc Dip.Phys.Sci. PhD SFHEA FGS FRAS

Space Park and Planetary Science Groups


2018- Senior Fellow Higher Education Academy

2015- Professor of Planetary Sciences University of Leicester

2013- Project Scientist National Space Centre

2013- Visiting Professor IRAP Toulouse

2012- Reader University of Leicester

2012- Science Associate JPL

2007- RCUK Fellow University of Leicester

2005-2011 Associate Lecturer Open University

2003-2007 Beagle2 and Planetary Science researcher Open University

2003- UCLA and NASA Johnson Space Center 1992-2003 Mineralogy Department NHM

1988-1992 PhD Open University


My research and that of my team aims include to understand water-rock reactions in the martian crust and differentiation of the lithosphere. Remote observations by the CaSSIS and HiRISE orbital cameras enable us to see colour and high resolution views of Mars and plan for the ExoMars rover landing. As part of Mars Science Laboratory we study the composition and mineralogy of the Mars surface. One of our themes is disentangling the compositional effects of igneous clasts detrital minerals and low temperature alteration in the sediments. Our studies of martian meteorites include the first classification scheme of the shergottites based on trace element abundances. We study the phyllosilicate - ferric saponite and serpentine - and carbonate within the nakhlites and seek to understand these in the context of Mars' carbon cycle. Our early Solar System research centres on analyses of primitive meteorites Comet Wild2 grains and analyses of Asteroid Itokawa and Ryugu grains returned by the JAXA Hayabusa missions. Embedded in our research are a range of analytical techniques - including electron microscopy and related techniques Diamond synchrotron.




Field Weighted Impact Factor 2.13, Google H-index 54

1. Bridges J.C., Hicks L.J, Treiman A. (2019) Carbonates on Mars. In 'Volatiles on Mars'.  1st edition. Elsevier.  Editors Filiberto and Schwenzer. pp 426.

2. Bedford C.C., J. C. Bridges, S. P. Schwenzer, R. C. Wiens, E. B. Rampe, J. Frydenvang, P. J. Gasda. 2019 Alteration trends and geochemical source region characteristics preserved in the fluviolacustrine sedimentary record of Gale crater, Mars. Geochim Cosmochim Acta

3. Bedford C.C., S.P. Schwenzer, J.C. Bridges, S. Banham, R.C. Wiens, O. Gasnault, E.B. Rampe, J. Frydenvang, P.J. Gasda. 2020 Geochemical variation in the Stimson formation of Gale crater: Provenance, mineral sorting, and a comparison with modern Martian dunes. Icarus 341

4.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: 10.1002/2014JE00475.

5.Hicks L.J., Bridges J.C., Gurman S.J. (2014) Ferric saponite and serpentine in the nakhlite martian meteorites, GCA, 136, 194-210.

6. Changela H.G. and Bridges J.C. (2011): Alteration Assemblages in the Nakhlites: Variation with Depth on Mars. Meteorit. Planet. Sci. 45, 1847-1867.

7. Bridges J.C., PH Warren. (2006) The SNC meteorites: basaltic igneous processes on Mars. Journal of the Geological Society 163 (2), 229-251. 

8. Bridges J.C., DC Catling, JM Saxton, TD Swindle, IC Lyon, MM Grady (2001) Alteration assemblages in Martian meteorites: Implications for near-surface processes. Space Science Reviews 96 (1-4), 365-392.

9. L. J. Hicks, J.C. Bridges, T. Noguchi, A. Miyake, J.D. Piercy and S.H. Baker. (2020) Fe-redox changes in Itokawa space-weathered rims. Meteoritics & Planetary Science 55, Nr 12, 2599-2618 (2020) doi: 10.1111/maps.13611.

10. Hicks LJ, MacArthur J., Bridges JC, Price M., Wickham-Eade J., Burchell M., Hansford G., Butterworth A., Gurman S.J. and Baker S. (2017) Magnetite in Comet Wild 2: Evidence for parent body aqueous alteration.  Meteorit. Planet. Sci. doi: 10.1111/maps.12909

11. 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.

12. Edwards, P.H., Bridges, J.C., Anderson, R., Dyar, D., Fisk, M., Thompson, L., Schwenzer S.P., Wiens, R.C. (2017) Basalt-Trachybasalt Samples from Gale Crater, Mars. Meteoritics and Planetary Science. DOI: 10.1111/maps.1295

13. 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.



Recent PhD Students and Topics

L. Adam (2019-) STFC-funded PhD to Study Mars Sample Return Technology

D. Bowden (2018-) STFC-funded PhD to Study Mars with MSL ChemCam data and ExoMars Raman

G. Hall (2017-) Co-supervisor on STFC-funded PhD on MIXS preparation for BepiColombo mercury science activities.

A. Parkes-Bowen (2017-) Lead supervisor on STFC-funded PhD to study Mars with CaSSIS and HiRISE imagery and Mars instrumentation.

R. Seidel (2017-2021) Co-supervisor on OU-UoL project to study mineralogy and Ar-Ar age dating of Mars analogues

J. Piercy (2016-2020) Lead Supervisor on STFC-funded PhD to study martian samples and instrumentation for Mars and Europa missions

C. Bedford (2015-2019) Co-supervisor on OU NERC funded project to study water-rock reaction at Gale Crater with Mars Science Laboratory data.

P. Edwards (2013-2017) Co-supervisor of UKSA-funded studentship to study MSL data and Raman spectroscopy in preparation for future missions.

J. MacArthur (2014-2018) Lead supervisor on STFC-funded PhD to study martian and cometary samples.


In the Academic year 2020-21 I taught Foundation Course Mechanics PA3606 Planetary Physics PA4607 Advanced Space Science 2nd year laboratories SEEDS MSc planetary science module.

I supervise foundation year and undergraduate tutees SURE and Paneth student internships and 3rd and 4th year Physics undergraduate projects.

Press and media

Planetary Science in particular Mars science missions asteroidal cometary and martian planetary materials and meteorites.


Mission and Advisory Roles

2020- Chair UKSA Space Exploration Advisory Committee

2020- STFC Solar System Advisory Panel and UKSA Science Programme Advisory Committee

2019- Hayabusa2 Fine Grained Mineralogy team

2018- UK Exploration Oversight Committee REXOC

2015- EPSL Editorial Advisory Board 2013- HiRISE Co-I

2013- ExoMars2022 Landing Site Group RSOWG

2013- Hayabusa Sample Allocation Committee

2012-14 UKSA Space Exploration Advisory Committee

2011- MSL Participating Scientist and MSL ChemCam team

2010- CaSSIS Co-I 2008- Mars Sample Return planning team (iMARS 2008).

2007- Co-I MIXS X-ray telescope 2007- ExoMars PanCam Co-I

2006- Stardust Mineralogy team member

2003- Beagle2 Learned Societies: Fellow of Royal Astronomical Society Geological Society Member of the Meteoritical Society


Four NASA achievement awards for Stardust team analyses Mars Science Laboratory and ChemCam teamwork. NASA achievement award for iMars Mars Sample Return team study.


Recent Meetings Organised

July 2021 Mars session National Astronomy Meeting

May 2019 Local organiser 2nd Mars Sample Science Planning Group College Court Leicester

Nov 2018 ExoMars Landing Site Selection Conference National Space Centre

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

Aug. 2016 Scientific Programme Committee Meteoritical Society Berlin

Sept. 2015 Mars Session Organiser - European Planetary Science Congress Sept.

2013 Organiser of the Mars Science Laboratory Session at European Planetary Science Congress

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

Oct. 2011 European Planetary Science Congress 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’. "


I maintain a strong record of outreach work based on my work at the University and also with the National Space Centre as a project Scientist. I have given over 100 talks about Mars early Solar System and other planetary science topics to schools astronomy geology societies National Space Centre our University open days UK academic departments and media interviews. @LeicsPlanets

Most recently I led the 2021 Royal Society Summer online Exhibition - Exploring Mars which centred on the UK and ESA's preparations for the ExoMars lander.

I have published regularly in The Conversation about topics including the Chinese space programme Hayabusa2 and Mars exploration with over 160000 readers internationally. @LeicsPlanets 

Media coverage

I have given media interviews on planetary science Mars and early Solar System exploration to: BBC Radio4 BBC Scotland Radio Leicester BBC E. Midlands Stargazing Live Sky at Night ITV Central Guardian Daily Telegraph New York Times Washington Post BBC online Leicester Mercury etc. 
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