School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Student Profiles

John Owen Edgar
John Edgar

  • PhD student
  • Email:
  • Address: School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, Room 2.01 Drummond Building, Newcastle University NE1 7RU

Project title

The impact of aeolian abrasion on the transformation of organic matter and detectability by the ExoMars 2020 MOMA instrument (ABRADE).

Project description

The focus of ABRADE is the effect of coupled aeolian abrasion – UV irradiation on the abundance and distribution of a wide range of organic molecules targeted by the ExoMars 2020 Mars Organic Molecule Analyser (MOMA).

Preliminary investigations have concentrated on quantifying to what extent the mechano-chemically induced reactivity of the Martian regolith is controlled by its mineralogy and what role Martian temperatures have in regulating this.

The data acquired in the course of the ABRADE project will:

  • constrain the potential survivability/detectability of organic molecules in Martian sediment
  • aid interpretation of MOMA data
  • potentially improve methods to remediate some persistent terrestrial organic pollutants

The project is funded through the UK Space Agency’s Aurora Programme; it targets the high-level ExomMars science aim ‘Search for signs of past and present life on Mars’.

The supervisory team consists of Dr Jon Telling and Dr Geoff Abbott.

Project website


Geochemistry, planetary science & astrobiology


  • BSc (Hons) Geology with Planetary Sciences (The University of Manchester, UK, 2007 - 2010)
  • MSc Earth Science (Uppsala University, Sweden, 2015 - 2017)