Richard Quinn

Richard Quinn
Senior Research Scientist
Curriculum Vitae: 

Is the surface of Mars really sterile, or could there be still-undiscovered traces of life littering this hostile landscape? Chemist Richard Quinn focuses on understanding the reactive processes that take place on the surface of the Red Planet, and how these might give a better idea of the potential for habitable environments. As the Viking landers found three decades ago, there is an abundance of complex, photochemically driven oxidative processes on Mars. These are comprised of atmosphere, dust, and soil interactions. Richard says that the key to understanding martian carbon chemistry is to unravel the dominant reaction mechanisms and kinetics of soil reactivity and organic compound decomposition.

 

The important point is that such chemistry may have decomposed or modified organic material that could have survived from an earlier flowering of life on Mars. Richard is heavily involved in applying his chemical research to the design of instruments and schemes for new probes that will eventually sift the martian soil for signs of ancient inhabitants.

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Astrobiological Investigations of Martian Perchlorate and Carbonate Containing Soils

Analysis of the roles perchlorate and carbonate chemistry play in the origin, preservation, and distribution of organic biosignatures on Mars.

In Situ Chemical Activation of Nanostructured Biosensor Arrays for Astrobiology Science

Development of a device to chemically activate nanostructured sensor arrays in situ on Mars and other planetary surfaces.