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Susanne Schwenzer

Dr. Susanne P. Schwenzer is a mineralogist and planetary scientist specializing in Martian topics. She is a team member of the Mars Science Laboratory mission to Gale Crater, Mars, studying water-rock interaction and noble gases on the Red Planet, and was recently appointed Lecturer in Earth Science at the OU.

Susanne came to The Open University in 2009 as a post-doctoral researcher to study Ar and noble gases in terrestrial and extra-terrestrial samples. She continued at the OU as a Research Investment Fellow and combined all her interests in water and volatiles, Mars and Martian habitable environments by studying impact craters and cold desert environments on Mars and Earth, modelling Martian hydrothermal and weathering environments, and working on noble gases in Martian meteorites and terrestrial analogues.

Before she started her undergraduate studies, Susanne worked as a freelance journalist, and has never lost her enthusiasm for journalism and public outreach. She is the author of two published books, a board member and volunteer editor for a geo-themed museum in Germany, and a STEM ambassador in the UK.

Susanne enjoys giving public talks about the Curiosity mission and her work on Martian impact craters; and interacting with an interested lay audience about science topics. Her most recent holiday took her to Cyprus, where she enjoyed hiking and studying the ancient history at the excavation sites and in the museums. Her holiday reading was Red Moon Rising by Matthew Brzezinski, which is an account of the very beginning of the space race. She is fascinated by space exploration, the brilliant minds, dedication and determination that made it possible, the politics that presented the opportunity – and the psychology behind it all.

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November 2020

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