Mark Paton's website

Dr. Mark D. Paton

I am a research scientist studying the interaction between the Martian atmosphere and its surface. More specifically I am interested in the exchange of volatiles, dust and thermal energy between the subsurface and the lower atmosphere. My past research experience has covered asteroids, comets and Saturn's moon Titan. I am also interested in the design of entry and landing systems for landing on Solar System bodies with atmospheres.



PhD in Planetary Science, The Open University, UK, 2006 (Advisors: J. C. Zarnecki, S. F. Green and A. J. Ball)

              - Thesis title: 'Penetrometry of NEOs and other Solar System bodies'

BSc in Astrophysics with 1st class honours, University of London, 2001

              - 3rd year project, 'Solar heated balloons in atmospheres of the Solar System'

Research experience       

Remote observations and in situ observations

              Using remote sensing and in situ measurements to make discoveries in planetary science

              Specialise in utilising thermal and mechanical sensors for scientific inquiries

Atmospheric science

Numerical Weather Model development for Mars and studying of volatile transfer on Mars

Reflectance spectroscopy

              Reflectance spectroscopy of meteorites and regolith analogues (incl. bi-directional)

Impact mechanics

              Numerical modelling of asteroid regoliths, Titan's surface and machine vibration

Thermal numerical modelling

              Convective, conductive and radiative heat transfer in planetary regoliths

Academic appointments


2010 -                  Research Scientist

                                           Radar and Space Technology, Finnish Meteorological Institute         

2009 - 2010       Postdoctoral Research Assistant

                                           Department of Astronomy, University of Helsinki, Finland

2007 - 2008       Postdoctoral Research Assistant

                                           Planetary and Space Science Research Institute, UK       

2006 - 2007       Research Scientist

                                           Department of Space Research, Finnish Meteorological Institute

Academic service

·       Journal associate editor

·       Conference Organisation

·       Teaching at undergraduate and PhD level



Experience with various international and national level projects - European Union, European Space Agency, Academy of Finland


Space missions

My roles as a science team member or in collaboration with team members

NASA Curiosity             - pressure and humidity data interpretation

NASA Viking                  - subsurface temperature sensor data interpretation

                                         - migration of 1970s era computer facility onto Linux

ESA ExoMars                 - prototyping of a dust sensor for Mars

ESA Huygens                 - penetrometer and accelerometer data interpretation

ESA Rosetta                   - Philae anchor temperature sensor

Technical knowledge

·       Multivariate statistics, predictor-corrector techniques

·       C++, FORTRAN, IDL, Perl, Visual Basic,

·       Excel (incl. macros), Latex, Word, COMSOL

·       Windows, Linux

·    Laboratory experience - data aquisition, electronic assembly


 My publications include 29 peer reviewed journal articles, 34 peer reviewed abstracts and 8 non-peer reviewed articles. These publications have been cited more than 220 times