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Joseph Michalski


  • Fellow
  • Earth 4D: Subsurface Science & Exploration




Joseph Michalski is fascinated by the planet Mars, which is Earth-like in so many ways, but distinctly an alien world in many others.

He is an expert in the use of spectroscopic techniques to investigate the mineralogy and crystal chemistry of geological materials in the laboratory, and operates the Planetary Spectroscopy and Mineralogy Laboratory at the University of Hong Kong. He uses infrared spectroscopy and remote sensing to explore Mars, and to investigate the properties of rocks from the macroscopic to the microscopic. Michalski’s expertise in planetary geology has allowed him to combine interests in field geology, lab science, and remote sensing and astronomy. Now, his focus has turned to the exploration for evidence for habitable environments and hydrothermal systems on Mars. He is one researcher who has consistently proposed that subsurface environments are much more likely to have hosted life on Mars than surface environments. This period of scientific discovery is intensely exciting and satisfying, as we explore in tandem the habitability, geology and energy potential of the subsurfaces of the Earth and Mars.


  • University of Hong Kong Research Output Prize
  • Marie Curie Fellow
  • UK Space Agency Aurora Fellow
  • Bowling Green State University Distinguished Alumni Award
  • THEMIS Instrument Group Achievement Award

Relevant Publications

  • Michalski, J. R. T.C. Onstott, S. J. Mojzsis, J. Mustard, Q. chan, P. B. Niles, and S. Stewart Johnson (2017), The Martian subsurface as a potential window into the origin of life, Nature Geoscience. doi:10.1038/s41561-017-0015-2
  • Michalski, J. R., E. Z. Noe Dobrea, P. B. Niles and J. Cuadros (2017). Hydrothermal seafloor deposits in Eridania basin on Mars, Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/NCOMMS15978.
  • Michalski, J. R., J. Cuadros, J. L. Bishop, M. D. Dyar, V. Dekov, and S. Fiore (2015). Constraints on the crystal-chemistry of Fe/Mg-rich smectitic clays on Mars and links to global alteration trends, EPSL, 427 (1), 215-225.
  • Michalski, J. R. and J.E. Bleacher (2013), Supervolcanoes within an ancient volcanic province in Arabia Terra, Mars, Nature, 502, 47-52.
  • Michalski, J. R.,, J. Cuadros, P. Niles, J. Parnell, A. D. Rogers and S. Wright, (2013), Groundwater activity on Mars and implications for a deep biosphere, Nature Geoscience, 6, 133–138, doi:10.1038/ngeo1706.

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