School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Staff Profile

Dr Emmal Safi

Research Associate


I am a planetary scientist with research interests in icy surface geology, planetary oceans and aeolian erosion on the martian surface. 



My first degree was in physics at the University of Portsmouth. During my third year I worked in collaboration with the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation where I specialised in the early universe with emphasis on primordial gravitational waves. Following this I then went on to complete my PhD titled “Experimental studies of hydrated analogue materials of relevance to Solar System bodies using synchrotron radiation” at Keele University in collaboration with the Diamond light Source. The main focus of this research involved applying synchrotron radiation structure-probing techniques, primarily powder diffraction at Diamond light Source (DLS) to the formation in, interactions with, and alterations of, minerals and related materials in various natural environments with, and by, water in its different states. The aim of the research work was to investigate the role of water in its different forms in shaping the surface geology of planetary bodies. I also utilised the Long Duration Experiment (LDE) facility at DLS to explore water-solid interactions over a wide range of conditions of low and high temperature timescales of second’s to months. This allowed the distinction between thermodynamics and kinetics driven processes occurring in astrophysical environments to be made.

Current Research

I am currently a research associate on the TraceGas MIneral InteractionDuring Aeolian Erosion On Mars (REGRIND) project funded by the UK Space Agency. This project aims to understand the mechanisms and rates of gas uptake and release (i.e. CH4, H2, CH2O, CO) during present day sand movement on Mars. This will be done by the use of analogue laboratory experiments which can aid in the correct interpretation of the European Space Agency/Roscosmos ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) data.