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Dr Feargus Abernethy

Profile summary

Professional biography

Education

2006 - 2010: BSc (Hons) Geology at the University of Edinburgh

2010 - 2014: PhD in achondrite (angrite, HED and martian) C & N volatile geochemistry at The Open University

Employment

2014 - 2016: Project Officer (Finesse) at the Open University

Responsibility for the ongoing development and maintenence of the Finesse gas source mass spectrometry system.

2016 - present: Project Officer (ProSPA development models) at the Open University

Development of a breadboard system to inform the development of the ProSPA volatiles analysis package for ESA PROSPECT.

Research interests

My work currently focuses principally on the delivery and exploitation of spaceflight and bespoke lab instrumentation to determine the volatile abundances and stable isotope compositions of both terrestrial and extraterrestrial geological samples. I have a key role within the team delivering the ProSPA volatile analysis package as part of ESA's involvement with the Russian Luna 27 mission, due for launch in 2025.

I am also currently responsible for the operation of the FINESSE static-vacuum mass spectrometry system, designed for the simultaneous analysis of carbon, nitrogen and noble gases from a single sample, and the Raman spectroscopy lab. Through these labs I have been involved in a range of projects to quantify volatiles and characterise samples ranging from meteorites to commercial glasses to sporopollenin. I am interested on working on anything that can make use of these facilities. Some examples of previous projects are outlined below:

  • Analysis of carbon and nitrogen volatile components in angrites, HEDs and martian samples. (Finesse)
  • Characterisation of carbon and nitrogen within ureilitic fragments of Almahata Sitta. (Finesse)
  • The effects of acetolysis on sporopollenin. (Raman)
  • Carbon, nitrogen and argon analysis of commercial glass compounds. (Finesse)
  • Analysis of diamonds for nitrogen content (Finesse)

External collaborations

  • Analysis of enstatite chondrite clasts of Almahata Sitta (Prof. Hilary Downes, Birkbeck University of London)
  • Sporopollenin chemistry (Dr Phillip Jardine, University of Münster)
  • Member of the PROSPECT science team
  • Member of the topical teams for the ESA Voyage 2050 review

Publications

Feasibility studies for hydrogen reduction of ilmenite in a static system for use as an ISRU demonstration on the lunar surface (2020-01)
Sargeant, H. M.; Abernethy, F. A. J.; Anand, M.; Barber, S. J.; Landsberg, P.; Sheridan, S.; Wright, I. and Morse, A.
Planetary and Space Science, 180, Article 104759


Gas containment for in situ sample analysis on the Moon: Utility of sealing materials in the presence of dust (2020-01)
Abernethy, Feargus A. J.; Sheridan, Simon and Barber, Simeon J.
Planetary and Space Science, 180, Article 104784


A secretive mechanical exchange between mantle and crustal volatiles revealed by helium isotopes in 13C-depleted diamonds (2019-10-10)
Mikhail, S.; Crosby, J.C.; Stuart, F.M.; DiNicola, L. and Abernethy, F.A.J
Goechemical Perspectives Letters, 11, Article 1923 (pp. 39-43)


The alteration history of the Jbilet Winselwan CM carbonaceous chondrite: An analog for C‐type asteroid sample return (2019-03)
King, A. J.; Russell, S. S.; Schofield, P. F.; Humphreys‐Williams, E. R.; Strekopytov, S.; Abernethy, F.; Verchovsky, A. B. and Grady, M.
Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 54(3) (pp. 521-543)


Hydrogen reduction of ilmenite: Towards an in situ resource utilization demonstration on the surface of the Moon (2019)
Sargeant, H. M.; Abernethy, F. A. J.; Barber, S. J.; Wright, I. P.; Anand, M.; Sheridan, S. and Morse, A.
Planetary and Space Science, Article 104751 ((Early Access))


Basaltic Volcanism On The Angrite Parent Body: Comparison With 4 Vesta (2018-02-28)
Abernethy, F. A. J.; Verchovsky, A. B; Franchi, I. A. and Grady, M. M.
Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 53(3) (pp. 375-393)


The mineralogy, petrology, and composition of anomalous eucrite Emmaville (2017-04)
Barrett, T. J.; Mittlefehldt, D. W.; Greenwood, R. C.; Charlier, B. L. A.; Hammond, S.; Ross, D. K.; Anand, M.; Franchi, I. A.; Abernethy, F. A. J. and Grady, M. M.
Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 52(4) (pp. 656-668)


Shedding light on sporopollenin chemistry, with reference to UV reconstructions (2017-03)
Jardine, Phillip E.; Abernethy, Feargus A. J.; Lomax, Barry H.; Gosling, William D. and Fraser, Wesley T.
Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 238 (pp. 1-6)


Isotopic composition of carbon and nitrogen in ureilitic fragments of the Almahata Sitta meteorite (2015-02-19)
Downes, H.; Abernethy, F. A. J.; Smith, C. L.; Ross, A. J.; Verchovsky, A. B.; Grady, M. M.; Jenniskens, P. and Shaddad, M. H.
Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 50(2) (pp. 255-272)


Stable isotope analysis of carbon and nitrogen in angrites (2013)
Abernethy, F. A. J.; Verchovsky, A. B.; Starkey, N. A.; Anand, M.; Franchi, I. A. and Grady, M. M.
Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 48(9) (pp. 1590-1606)


Water production from lunar simulants and samples: an in situ resource utilization demonstration (2020)
Sargeant, H. M.; Abernethy, F.; Anand, M.; Barber, S. J.; Sheridan, S.; Wright, I. and Morse, A.
In : 51st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (16-20 Mar 2020, The Woodlands, Texas (forthcoming))


Mass Spectrometers for In-Situ Resource Utilisation (2019-07-16)
Morse, A. D.; Abernethy, F.; Barber, S. J.; Lim, S.; Sargeant, H.; Sheridan, S. and Wright, I. P.
In : Lunar ISRU 2019 (15-17 Jul 2019, Columbia, Maryland, United States)


Experimental Development and Testing of the Reduction of Ilmenite for a Lunar ISRU Demonstration with ProSPA (2019)
Sargeant, H. M.; Abernethy, F.; Anand, M.; Barber, S. J.; Sheridan, S.; Wright, I. and Morse, A.
In : Lunar ISRU 2019 (15-17 Jul 2019, Columbia, Maryland, United States)


Experimental Development and Testing of the Ilmenite Reduction Reaction for a Lunar ISRU Demonstration with ProSPA (2019)
Sargeant, H. M.; Abernethy, F.; Anand, M.; Barber, S. J.; Sheridan, S.; Wright, I. P. and Morse, A.
In : 50th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (18-22 Mar 2019, The Woodlands, Houston, Texas, USA)


Co-ordinated UV Reflectance and Raman Spectroscopy of Martian Meteorites and Terrestrial Analogue Samples (2019)
Grady, Monica; Abernethy, Feargus; Barrett, Thomas; Batty, Claire; Bedford, Candice and Rowden, Pam
In : 82nd Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society (7-12 Jul 2019, Sapporo, Japan)


Hydrogen Reduction of Ilmenite in a Static System for a Lunar ISRU Demonstration (2018)
Sargeant, H. M.; Abernethy, F.; Barber, S. J.; Wright, I. P.; Sheridan, S.; Landsberg, P.; Morse, A. D.; Anand, M. and Reiss, P.
In : European Lunar Symposium (ELS) 2018 (14-16 May 2018, Toulouse, France)


Understanding the Early Martian Environment through the Inventory of Breccia Clasts in Northwest Africa (2017-03-20)
Jacobs, G. M.; Abernethy, F. J.; Anand, M.; Franchi, I. A. and Grady, M. M.
In : 48th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (20-24 Mar 2017, The Woodlands, Houston, Texas)


ProSPA: the Science Laboratory for the Processing and Analysis of Lunar Polar Volatiles within PROSPECT (2017-03-20)
Barber, S. J.; Smith, P. H.; Wright, I. P.; Abernethy, F.; Anand, M.; Dewar, K. R.; Hodges, M.; Landsberg, P.; Leese, M. R.; Morgan, G. H.; Morse, A. D.; Mortimer, J.; Sargeant, H. M.; Sheard, I.; Sheridan, S.; Verchovsky, A.; Goesmann, S.; Howe, C.; Morse, T.; Lillywhite, N.; Quinn, A.; Missaglia, N.; Pedrali, M.; Reiss, P.; Rizzi, F.; Rusconi, A.; Savoia, M.; Zamboni, A.; Merrifield, J. A.; Gibson Jr., E. K.; Carpenter, J.; Fisackerly, R. and Houdou, B.
In : 48th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (20-24 Mar 2017, The Woodlands, Houston, Texas)


Hydrogen reduction of ilmenite as an ISRU demonstration for ProSPA (2017)
Sargeant, H.; Abernethy, F.; Wright, I. P.; Barber, S.; Sheridan, S.; Morse, A. and Anand, M.
In : European Lunar Symposium (ELS) 2017 (2-3 May 2017, Munster, Germany)


Graphitic Raman spectra in angrites: a source of high-temperature carbon? (2013)
Abernethy, F. A. J.; Anand, M.; Franchi, I. A. and Grady, M. M.
In : 76th Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society (29 Jul - 2 Aug 2013, Edmonton, Canada)


The high-temperature release of carbon and nitrogen in the angrites and its relationship to parent body degassing. (2013)
Abernethy, F. A. J.; Verchovsky, A. B.; Anand, M.; Franchi, I. A. and Grady, M. M.
In : 76th Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society (29 Jul - 2 Aug 2013, Edmonton, Canada)


A trapped nitrogen component in angrites (2012)
Abernethy, F. A. J.; Verchovsky, A. B.; Anand, M.; Franchi, I. A. and Grady, M. M.
In : 75th Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society (12-17 Aug 2012, Cairns, Australia)


Maximizing the science return from 3.3 g of Martian meteorite: a consortium study of olivine-phyric shergottite NorthWest Africa 6234 (2011)
Filiberto, Justin; Abernethy, Feargus; Butler, Ian B.; Carthwright, Julia; Chin, Emily J.; Day, James M.; Goodrich, Cyrena; Grady, Monica; Gross, Julianne; Franchi, Ian; Herd, Christopher D. K.; Kelley, Simon Peter; Ott, Ulrich; Penninston-Dorland, Sarah C.; Schwenzer, Susanne P. and Treiman, Allan H.
In : AGU Fall Meeting (5-9 Dec 2011, San Francisco)


A preliminary study of magmatic volatiles in angrites (2011)
Abernethy, F. A. J.; Verchovsky, A.; Franchi, I. A. and Grady, M. M.
In : 74th Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society (8-12 Aug 2011, London, UK)


Water production from lunar samples and simulants
Sargeant, Hannah; Abernethy, Feargus; Anand, Mahesh; Barber, Simeon; Sheridan, Simon; Wright, Ian and Morse, Andrew
In : Space Resources Workshop (10-11 Oct 2019, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg)